The Ever After of Ashwin Rao
From internationally acclaimed author Padma Viswanathan (The Toss of a Lemon, 2009) comes 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.
Ashwin Rao is smart, funny, and perceptive, an Indian psychologist who is gifted at turning the fragments of his patients’ lives into stories that help them heal. In 2004, almost twenty years after the fatal bombing of an Air India flight from Vancouver, two suspects — finally — are on trial for the crime. Ashwin decides to return to Canada, where he was trained, in order to interview the surviving families. A study of comparative grief, he calls it, pretending to keep his professional distance. Soon he is deeply embroiled in the lives of one extended Canadian family, whose members have staggered on in very different ways since the bombing, carrying their heartbreak and fear mostly in silence.
Padma Viswanathan imagines the unexpected emotional and political consequences of this real-life act of terror, showing in her wonderfully textured, sometimes even joyful novel what people can live with and what they can live without.
Longlisted – 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Praise for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao:
This is a witty, sometimes quirky novel that is fascinating, warm and poignant. A true delight.MEREDITH JAFFE, THE HOOPLA
This new book is the best kind of political novel: the kind that doesn’t force you to constantly notice it’s a political novel ... Viswanathan has written an important book – one that deserves to to find international recognition.THE GLOBE AND MAIL
... a complex and moving novel that does what contemporary media accounts of the tragedy did not: it brings home individual stories of loss and makes clear the extent of the devastation... richly textured and powerful... fertile emotional territory... sympathetic and believable characters... engrossing themes, including faith and its secular underpinnings, loss, identity and nationalism.TORONTO STAR
Through characters hewn with great empathy and grace, writing whose brilliance illuminates every page, and a story that constantly compels and surprises, Padma Viswanathan explores hugely ambitious questions of loss, identity and faith.MANIL SURI, AUTHOR OF THE DEATH OF VISHNU AND THE CITY OF DEVI
Viswanathan tackles the story with great empathy and a journalist’s attention to detail... [P]rovocative and compelling.CHATELAINE
Ambitious ... Vivid ... The Ever After of Ashwin Rao does surprise, especially with an ending that finds redemption for the works-in-progress that constitute our lives.QUILL & QUIRE
Viswanathan’s second novel digs deeply and effectively into the psychology of bereavement, as well as providing outsiders with fascinating insight into Hinduism, Indo-Canadian culture and the history of Hindu-Sikh conflict... [A] very satisfying experience indeed.WINNIPEG FREE PRESS