From internationally acclaimed 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.
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.
Until we blindingly realise that he too has a secret.
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.