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Family Planning: A Novel Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006153725X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061537257
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,080,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The patriarch of a chaotic family living in a hectic land must come to terms with himself and what he's wrought at home and at work in this excellent debut. Rakesh Ahuja battles the twin bedlams of his sprawling family and overcrowded home city of New Delhi while simultaneously trying to save his career as the minister of urban development. Rakesh attempts to manipulate and cajole his way through the corrupt and sometimes illogical Indian civil service, often finding himself embroiled in absurd intrigues. Home is no less fraught, where his 13 children battle each other for their often-absent father's love. The lone exception is Arjun, the eldest, whose adolescent rebellion and nascent romantic inclinations prompt him to form a rock band and pull away from his frenetic family. As Rakesh clumsily reaches out to his first-born son, the twists of fate that shaped both their lives are revealed, providing a portrait of a family that is both comical and heartbreaking. Mahajan's effortless blending of comedy and tragedy is irresistible and should help his book stand out. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

How does one carve his niche—his life—while remaining a loving member of the greater family? Arjun, the eldest of 13 children, straddles that tricky line of playing third parent while struggling to distance himself from his family. A normal day sees him changing diapers, flirting with his crush, and entertaining dreams of rock stardom. Arjun’s father is one of Delhi’s star officials, his mother is addicted to soap operas, and his 12 siblings  remain in a constant battle for those finite emotional resources from each other and their parents. Arjun never shuns his family but does critique his home life, saying “it was a house as pressure cooker.” Arjun’s struggles are compounded when he learns that his mother is not his birth mother, but is that of his siblings. This discovery prompts Arjun to debate the definition of a mother: she who birthed him or raised him? Like any debut, Family Planning has its hiccups, but it is an entertaining exposé of a unique family. --Blair Parsons

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I look eagerly to his next one.
Amit Garg
I love India and this book was fun to read and a great perspective on its culture.
Matthew Gordon
Started reading, kept going, finished a couple hours later--one sitting.
JA

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dick Johnson VINE VOICE on July 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our hero is a politician and father of thirteen - all still at home. I don't know which is scarier: a politician raising his own voter base; or raising thirteen kids. Thankfully, the terror stops there.

The fun, however, starts on page one and continues throughout the book. We have family follies and political pandemonium; coming-of-age and first-love; and lots of children.

I felt as if Mahajan was sitting next to me telling me the story; the writing was that real and 'friendly'. I am amazed that this is a first book. This being the P.S. edition, we also get the additional material from him in the back of the book.

Grab this one if you want to have fun and enjoy a satiric look at part of the life of India.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought "Family Planning" right after hearing an interview with the young author, Karan Mahajan, on NPR. It was an impulse buy based on how intelligent and witty Mr. Mahajan had been in the interview; I was not disappointed. It's a delightful coming-of-age story and very humorous, which is not something I usually associate with tales set in Delhi, India. I'll be watching for more form this promising young man.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jessica W. Ley on December 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
As the adult program planner for a large suburban library in the NY metropolitan area, responsbile for booking author appearances, a huge number of books cross my desk. It would be impossible to read them all so I choose pages at random, trying to avoid being influenced by the publisher's hype. Karan Mahajan's "Family Planning" grabbed me right from the beginning...not his beginning but mine, which just happened to be page 137. A few pages later I went to page 1 and didn't stop until the end. He is visiting the Port Washington Public Library on Tuesday, August 11 @ 7:30 - I can't wait! If you're in the neighborhood, drop by.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tony T. on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
With his effervescent debut, Karan Mahajan splatters onto the world stage, coating modern New Delhi in salty gouts of compassion, capturing what it means to be both human AND Indian, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl E. Schoonover on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
There are many things to love in this immensely clever book. One that appeals to the scientist in me is Mahajan's virtuosic use of science-based metaphors and images to illustrate situations and feelings that are distinctly non-scientific. It is challenging enough for science writers to translate abstract descriptions of Nature into laymen's terms--a task that results more often than not in abusive metaphor-stretch and other such assaults on our language; but to successfully accomplish this work in the other direction (employing abstract scientific concepts to sketch the minutiae of human experience) is something of a coup. In less accomplished hands this sort of device is almost guaranteed to sound contrived and fall flat, but in "Family Planning" it blends seamlessly into Mahajan's cool, confident prose.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JA on March 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Started reading, kept going, finished a couple hours later--one sitting. A very funny book that reads effortlessly but clearly took a deft touch and extraordinary control of tone and structure to write. Vivid characters, great dialogue, and an unusual story. Like a young, New Delhi-based Martin Amis, with a lighter and more humanist touch.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maria Barrera on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read Family Matters after having heard the author at a reading in New York City. From the first page, the evidence of a unique new voice was present. The plot is highly complex, yet very accessible. It is full of unexpected turns and will make you laugh and think. Not many first novels have such a blend of poignant and fun characters. I agree with another reviewer whom found a kinship with Narayan's world. Mahajan's fiction is unique indeed, and I wish many more people discover it as the very worthy beginning of a promising author.
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By Brittain Sexton on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Family Planning is a remarkable book from a young writer. I would recommend it for any fan of dark humor.
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