From the international bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son comes a poignant, unforgettable novel about a family's growing apart and coming back together in the wake of tragedy.
The Olanders embody a modern family in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home.
But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family’s foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart.
When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they’ve held and the weight of their choices.
The Shape of Family is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging — in our families, our communities and ultimately, within ourselves.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Novelist Shilpi Somaya Gowda possesses a keen wisdom when it comes families. In this gripping story, a tragedy hurtles a loving clan—banking big shot Keith Olander, his cosmopolitan wife, Jaya, and their two coming-of-age kids—into crisis, which, over time, becomes an opportunity for evolution. Each of the Olanders handles trauma in their own way. In examining their coping mechanisms, Gowda pulls off an amazing feat: She manages to make this book—which is largely about grieving—endlessly interesting and full of surprises. By the end of The Shape of Family, we felt like we really knew these people.