The Association of Small Bombs

The Association of Small Bombs

Book - 2016
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After witnessing his two friends killed by a "small" bomb that detonated in a Delhi marketplace, Mansoor Ahmed becomes involved with a charismatic young activist, whose allegiances and beliefs are more changeable than he could have imagined.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780525429630
Branch Call Number: FIC MAHAJ
Characteristics: 276 pages ; 24 cm


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Nov 28, 2017

This novel was much lauded in the US (NYT Book Review, The New Yorker, etc.) but much less enthusiastically reviewed in the UK and elsewhere. Personally, I found it very disappointing. Mahajan's idea is good - to examine the aftermath of a bombing in a Delhi market in 1996 in terms of its impact on the parents of two children who were killed and on a friend who was with them and his family. The description of domestic life was good, but the characters involved with the bombing and subsequent actions were unconvincing. They seemed American. Their motivation, not religious, but not well explained, remained a mystery. Overall, Mahajan provided little context and no insight. The novel was disappointing and very American in its sensibility and focus on the individual.

Apr 23, 2017

Timely second novel by Indian-American writer Karan Mahajan. It starts with an explosion in a Dehli market that kills two brothers and follows one of the survivors and one of his friends, who is drawn into a terrorist organization. It's an engaging, of the moment story, but I had trouble getting into it, perhaps because Mahajan's structure feels a bit erratic and the characters never quite came alive. But for those looking for political writing that tries to make sense of the world, this is worth checking out. I'd also recommend "The Reluctant Fundamentalist."

Mar 26, 2017

Many Americans think that tragedy only happens to us. I was on a trip to India when a woman I was with was going on about how Americans have suffered because of terror. Luckily, the Indian man we were with let her know loud and clear that Americans have been lucky. Did I enjoy this book? No, but it sure made me think. I had no idea that the current Indian prime minister was connected with violence against Muslims. What captured my attention in this book was the way the author, not only looked at the Muslims who set of the small bombs, but gave the perspective of a person who was hurt in a bombing as well as parents who lost 2 middle school boys to a bombing. The ending of course reflects the sorrow spread throughout all the connecting stories in the book.

Mar 10, 2017

it was good but the characters got caught in own web of destruction.

Oct 22, 2016

An amazing book by a major writer. Blows so many stereotypes—about India, terrorism, Hindu/Muslim divides—all with surprising humanity, wit and compassion. A young writer, Mahajan is someone to read and watch. Found myself thinking about its characters and situations long after reading. For a comparison with The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien:

Jul 26, 2016

a paint-by-number story with an ending that ties up all the loose ends - some pleasantly poetic passages, however

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