When Mira Acharya’s father dies, the challenges facing her Indo-Canadian family become that much more daunting. Ravi, her autistic older brother, requires special care but longs to be just like other children. Their mother must work full time to keep a roof over their heads and still make time to be a parent to an over-achiever and a developmentally challenged child. As much as Mira loves her mother and brother, she resents the situations in which living with them places her.
It is only when Mira is older that she realizes a truth she has been missing all along: though her family’s experience may be unusual, what holds them together – has always held them together – is universal.
Shashi Bhat’s debut novel, The Family Took Shape, is a touching, hilarious, and endearingly honest story about one unique family’s search for happiness in Canadian suburbia.
“The Family Took Shape has a strange and very beautiful ending, proof of Bhat’s tremendous promise. It may take a moment to get used to the general quietness of this novel. But the more time you invest, the greater the reward.” - National Post
“A refreshing break from convention … Bhat seamlessly interweaves Canadian suburban life with Indian cultural life … moving and beautifully crafted …” - The Globe and Mail
“Quietly confident … Bhat sustains a thoughtful, unvarnished presentation of the brother/sister bond through different life stages and a range of emotions … the book’s remaining two-thirds, largely about the lives of Ravi and Mira as adults, are original and emotionally fearless.” - Quill and Quire
“Quietly remarkable … Bhat infuses the book with a quiet humour that only adds to the genuine sense of family between the characters.” - The Chronicle Herald
“A valuable contribution to the Canadian immigrant experience … a rare work of literary art, a view into a world that few of us has ever experienced firsthand. Mira is a miracle, a full-fledged character who will fascinate readers.” - The Sun-Times
“Bhat has a gift for astute observations of common, ordinary life experiences and making these fascinating by magnifying the details to great effect … I can’t reinforce enough the refined accuracy in Bhat’s descriptions. She is especially excellent when describing socially awkward situations in such a way that immediately puts you right inside of them … This novel has made me laugh, cringe and (yes) tear up significantly … The story has stayed with me well after I had finished reading, and I now look forward to more from this writer.” - The Winnipeg Review
“A compelling narrative that tracks the heroine’s progress into adulthood, and offers a beautifully crafted window on the world of a Hindu-Canadian family overcoming adversity and keeping traditions alive in their adopted homeland.” - 24 Hours
“A quiet, tender novel that finds new ways to look at potentially fraught topics like the immigrant experience and autism.” - Slightly Bookist
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