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The Ever After of Ashwin Rao: A Novel

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao: A Novel

by Padma Viswanathan
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao: A Novel

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao: A Novel

by Padma Viswanathan


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From internationally acclaimed New Face of Fiction author Padma Viswanathan, a stunning new work set among families of those who lost loved ones in the 1985 Air India bombing, registering the unexpected reverberations of this tragedy in the lives of its survivors. A book of post-9/11 life, The Ever After demonstrates that violent politics are all-too-often homegrown in North America but ignored at our peril.

In 2004, almost 20 years after the fatal bombing of Air India Flight 182 from Vancouver, two suspects are—finally—on trial for the crime. Ashwin Rao, an Indian psychologist trained in North America, comes back to do a “study of comparative grief,” interviewing people who lost loved one in the attack. What he neglects to mention is that he, too, had family members who died on the plane. Then, to his delight and fear, he becomes embroiled in the lives of one family that remains unable to escape the undertow of the tragedy. As Ashwin finds himself less and less capable of providing the objective advice this particular family seeks, his surprising emotional connection to them pushes him to face his own losses. The Ever After imagines the lasting emotional and political consequences of a real-life act of terror, confronting what we might learn to live with and what we can live without.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593766139
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Padma Viswanathan is a fiction writer, playwright and journalist, whose debut novel, The Toss of a Lemon, was shortlisted for the First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writer's Prize Best First Book Award (Canada and the Caribbean) and the PEN USA Fiction Award, and published to international acclaim. Her work has received many awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and support from the Canada Council, as well as residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Banff Centre and the Sacatar Foundation. She lives with her husband, Geoffrey Brock, a poet and translator, and their two children in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Read an Excerpt

It was only now that I realized: not only had I said nothing to my colleagues about my bereavement, I had said nothing about it in my letters to the victim families.

Okay, I thought now, That was wrong. But I did nothing to correct it.

It wasn’t only the need for scholarship that was motivating me. It wasn’t only the desire to give the victims a voice. (As one grieving man had said to Mukherjee and Blaise, “‘We are so wanting to talk! That wanting to talk is in all of us… we who have lost our entire families. We have nothing left except talk.’” That was eighteen years ago, but so many were still wanting to talk.)

It was, as much as anything, my desire to understand what had happened to me. I had not recovered. Did anyone, from so severe a blow? Perhaps not, but I had, in some way, stopped my life. This, I suspected, might be less true for the others. It didn’t seem to be true of Suresh, or he didn’t feel it to be. How or why did some absorb loss into life’s floodplains, while others erected a dam?

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