Published by Random House Canada
Padma Viswanathan is a Canadian fiction writer, playwright and journalist, whose debut novel, The Toss of a Lemon, was shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ 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. Her hometown is Edmonton, Alberta, though she is presently living with her husband, Geoffrey Brock, a poet and translator, and their two children in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Scotch-drinking, McGill-educated psychologist Ashwin Rao wrote about those bereaved by India’s state-sponsored anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. In 2004, he returns to Canada researching another book on comparative grief, attending the trial over the 1985 bombing of Air India 182, a bombing that claimed 329 lives, including his sister and her children. Guided by Viswanathan’s ever-compassionate gaze, and her ability to render a polyglot world in English, Ashwin meets Canadians affected by the tragedy, some as complex as himself. This often droll, fiercely intelligent novel with its cat’s-cradle of a plot challenges the twin deadly lures of religious fundamentalism and racism, revealing the learning and unlearning at the core of the immigrant experience.