Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

BOOK REVIEW: Family Planning by Karan Mahajan


In a country where family planning has been the norm since the late 70s, Rakesh Ahuga’s family stands out. Rakesh, the Minister of Urban Planning, has 13 children and another is on the way. The chaos of his home (“the house was the riots of 1947”) is rivaled only by the bedlam of the Indian civil service, a corrupt and often illogical system that Rakesh navigates by frequently resigning (last count was 67 times) to get things done his way.

Recent events have pushed the Ahuja household to the breaking point. Matriarch Sangita is mourning the death of her favourite soap star. Eldest son Arjun stumbled upon his parents having sex in the nursery and is “completely shattered.” His infatuation with Aarti, a fellow student, provides a much needed distraction but in order to carry out his plan to capture her attention, he must navigate sibling politics within “a team of jihadis so bored they’d declared holy war on one another” and face years of sibling servitude.

As the women of India go into mourning over the soup star’s death and a nation-wide strike is threatened, the country’s political turmoil heats up and rebellion looms at work and home. Rakesh and Arjun must come to terms with themselves, each other and long-hidden secrets.

Family Planning, the debut novel by Karan Mahajan, is a finely wrought tragicomedy described by several reviewers as “madcap.” Dialogue spirals out of control, (especially the jargon of Arjun and his friends) leaving readers with only an impression of meaning rather than true understanding. We may not understand every word and illusion in Family Planning, but we are left with a feeling of authenticity, of having glimpsed a true slice of family life in New Delhi. Readers looking for a coherent, straightforward narrative may wish to look elsewhere for their next read; in doing so however, they will miss a truly delightful send-up of modern Indian life.

ISBN10: 006153725X
ISBN13: 9780061537257

Trade Paperback
288 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: November 18, 2008


posted under Debut Novel, fiction

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Preference *
Email Format

Visit my Ravelry Shop

My Knitting Patterns

Audrey II

Angular Path Scarf

Cartouche Stole

Fossetta Cowl

Fossetta Hat

Sargaço Shawl

Whitman Hat

Every Which Way Cowl

Every Which Way Hat

Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts

Gothic Forest Scarf

Valencia Scarf

Branching Path Cowl

Flower Bell Stole

Whitman Cowl

New Tech Cowl

Vieux Carré Stole

Stacks Socks

Anna Perenna Shawlette

Taming of the Fox

Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves

Amplification Stole

Combs Cowl

Mindfulness Cowl

Tipsy Scarf

Gridwork Scarf
Ravelry Free Download