Shortlisted for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing
‘Fun, entertaining, delightful’ — Rahul Dravid
‘A warm, minutely detailed evocation of boyhood . . . textured like life itself’ — Samanth Subramanian
A charming tale of a young schoolboy trying to find his place in a changing world.
Twelve-year-old Karthik Subramanian has just been granted admission into St George’s, an elite boys’ school in Bangalore that has supported the academic lives of ‘four state cricketers, one India captain, tens of professors, hundreds of doctors, engineers and scientists, thousands of chartered accountants ...’ In this most exalted of institutions, Karthik yearns for recognition as an academic superstar.
Rigorously prepped by his parents and grandfather, dutifully offering his prayers to Lord Ganesha, Karthik steps into this new world. But nothing has prepared him for the challenges that lie in wait and he is left to himself to navigate the cruelties of school life, and the transition into adolescence. The less his family learns about his friends, the better. There are threats all around, even violence.
Brilliant in its observations of a motley cast of characters, and finely calibrated for humour and sadness, What’s Wrong with You, Karthik? is a poignant, exuberant debut from a writer of rare calibre.