Ashwin Rao is a smart, funny, and perceptive Indian psychologist. In 2004, almost twenty years after the fatal bombing of an Air India flight from Vancouver, two suspects are finally 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.
Talking to Ashwin, they confide their secrets along with the ways they have filled the hole the tragedy made in them. The ebullient and empathetic Seth needed a guru to shore himself up, even at the risk of alienating his beloved wife and daughters; his cousin Venkat, who lost his wife and son in the tragedy, has found darker means. Ashwin, emotionally drawn in and soon privy to everyone's secrets, digs deep into their stories " until we blindingly realise that he himself is a survivor as fascinating as any of his subjects.
Internationally acclaimed Canadian-Indian author Padma Viswanathan returns with her second novel, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, released in Australia by UWA Publishing following its North American release.
This stunning " and strangely timely " new work is set among families of those who lost loved ones in the 1985 Air India aeroplane bombing.
Padma Viswanathan imagines the unexpected emotional and political consequences of this real-life plane crash, showing in her wonderfully textured, sometimes even joyful novel what people can live with and what they can live without.
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao
Author: Padma Viswanathan