Reviews and Praise

Family Planning is a finalist for the 2010 Dylan Thomas Prize. The prize committee describes the book as “a laugh-out-loud novel that immerses you in its geography and its satire.” More here.

In the US:

Featured in NPR On Point’s “Best Books of 2008″ and NPR “Summer Reads of 2009″

“The truest portrait of modern New Delhi I’ve read, and the funniest book of the year.”
—Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City, The Daily Beast

“Brave, breackneck, and amusing. . . . A fearless cultural domestic tour. . . . Irreverent, fresh, and sometimes, given its author’s youth, preternaturally wise. . . . Almost every page bears a passage worth quoting.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“Mahajan’s sprightly first novel portrays India’s capital—10 million strong—in all its explosive fecundity. . . . Genuinely funny. . . . Profound. . . . Mahajan is only 24 years old, but he has already developed an irresistible voice with a rich sense of humor fueled by sorrow.”
— Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World

“Karan Mahajan’s Family Planning is one of the best and funniest first novels I’ve read in years. It hooks you with the first line. . . . Mahajan is an incredibly assured stylist and his story of Ahuja Pere and fils and their sprawling, squawling family is a great comic romp and a hugely promising debut.”
— Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City, The Daily Beast

“Pleasurably crazed. . . .Mahajan packs this hyperbolic blast of a novel with scathing reflections . . . . The rhythms of [New Delhi's] English, the tangle of its bureaucracies, the sights, sounds and smells of its streets — all spring to hectic life.”
— Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times

“Highly entertaining. . . . The level of concision, insight and humor on display in Family Planning is rare from any writer, but particularly one so young.”
— Maud Newton, NPR “Books We Like”

“[A book] I’d love to “gift”. . . .is the coming-of-age comedy Family Planning, by the 24-year-old wunderkind Karan Mahajan. . . . There’s something Nick Hornby to the tone–I love the way Mahajan sees family life.”
— Liesl Schillinger, The Huffington Post

“Sharply written, bracingly funny, and unexpectedly moving—Karan Mahajan combines ‘take no prisoners’ satire with haunting insights into the human condition.”
— Manil Suri, author of The Death of Vishnu

“A spot-on satire of Indian family life, globalization, and intergenerational strife.”
— The New York Post

“Karan Mahajan’s debut novel Family Planning offers up a funny and modern look at contemporary New Delhi.”
— Audrey Magazine

“[A] solid portrait of contemporary India. . . . Consistently entertainingly told. Mahajan has obvious talent.”
— The Complete Review

“I absolutely loved this novel. Mahajan has a writing style that just flows, and his figurative language is simply amazing to me. . . . Family Planning is a fantastic debut from an engaging writer.”
— Sacramento Book Review

“An excellent debut. . . . A portrait of family that is both comical and heartbreaking. . . . Mahajan’s effortless blending of comedy and tragedy is irresistible.”
— Publishers Weekly

“A delightfully entertaining novel about father-son conflict that readers from just about any culture can appreciate. . . . Mahajan interjects hilarity throughout otherwise tense and poignant moments of family drama. . . . Strongly recommended.”
— Library Journal

“It’s hard to believe the author of this classic family saga is only twenty-four. Harder still to believe this is his first book. I’ve never seen a debut like this. Family Planning is the full band announcement of a major talent.”
—Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby

“Tremendously witty and buzzing with imagination, [Family Planning] reminds me of Philip Roth’s early work — only better.”
—Reihan Salam, National Review Online

“An entertaining expose of a unique family.”
— Booklist

In the UK:

Elle Magazine’s “Author to Watch,” 2009

“Readers of this New Delhi-set comedy of manners are in for a treat. . . . Mahajan, with supreme self-assurance, fashions a subtle, cutting take on modern India.”
The Guardian

“Charming and hilarious.”
— Elle Magazine, “Hot 20: The Best in Art, Film, TV, Music and Books for 2009”

“Mahajan is only 24 years old, but he has a mature and impressive grasp of poignant comedy and has opened up Delhi to western readers in a way that a more overtly politicised novel may not.”
The Observer

“Mahajan’s debut is sharp, funny and stylishly assured. Hugely enjoyable.”
The Daily Mail

“Comic novels, full of lovable eccentrics and sly social commentary, seem to be one of “new” India’s main exports; this is one of the sharpest and funniest examples.”
The Times

“Sure to pick up a huge readership. . . . [a] subversive, clever read set in India. . . . Laugh-out-loud anarchy with echoes of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.”
— Red Magazine, “Top 3 Must Read Books” (UK)

“[A] bittersweet comedy set in a thoroughly 21st-century subcontinent.”
The Financial Times

In India (published July 2009):

“Mahajan’s real success lies in his brutally honest unpacking of Delhi. . . . a knowing, deeply felt portrait of a Third World city at the beginning of 21st century. . . . [a] blend of the farcical and the though provoking that would count as ambitious for writers far more experienced.”
— Biblio Magazine

“[A] delicious satire.”
— The Indian Express

“An attention grabbing debut written at a furious pace . . . . at once absurd and moving. ”
— Deccan Herald

“Mahajan has an eye for the ridiculous and an ear for comic dialogue that bear him out well . . . the farce never seems forced, the domestic chaos is well-etched and the humour is deadpan and unselfconscious—a rare enough quality in Indian writing. . .a relief from the spate of navel-gazing first novels we’ve been subjected to”
— Mint / The Wall Street Journal

“[As] close to life as possible. . . . Karan Mahajan’s Family Planning is smart and funny. Pick it up.”
— Mail Today

“From the loaded title through the shenanigans of our political netas, Karan Mahajan manages to weave a readable tale with sarcasm and wit. . . . It is a most promising start. I have no doubt we will hear more about him in the years to come.”
— Khushwant Singh

“[E]xtremely comic, and one of the cleverest Indian satires in recent years. . . . a realistic look at contemporary Delhi. . . . a fantastic debut.”
— Elle India

“[M]akes the right points about power games and inconsistencies of society. . . He can sparkle.”
— Outlook

“[A] very funny book. . . . reminiscent of Tom Sharpe — or even the brilliant joint-family scenes from VS Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas.”
— Tehelka

Blogs:

“[An] extremely funny read, with memorable characters and outrageous pop culture references, the kind of book that is very accessible but still addresses weighty issues related to politics and transnationalism and national consciousness.”
Asian American Lit Fans

“[S]mart, sharp writing. . . . Family Planning blends satire with truth, following the antics of young Arjun inside the backdrop of Rakesh Ahuja’s Minister position in a corrupt political climate that reeks of nepotism and favoritism. It’s a fun combination that leaves the reader both fully entertained and hungry for more.”
She Is Too Fond Of Books

“Did I ever have fun reading this debut novel by a young wunderkind who wears his talent with gossamer-like ease. . . . Mahajan has much to say about contemporary India, but his thoughts on more universal topics like sex and family is why this debut is gold.”
— Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind “Pick of the Week”

“[A] comic tour-de-fource. . . . immensely entertaining.”
About.com

“[L]aughter-inducing yet tender. . . . I was pulled in just as much by Mahajan’s observant and sensitive eye as I was by his ability to create satirical scenarios that reflect some of the complexities and paradoxes of social and political life in today’s India.”
Sepia Mutiny

“[L]augh-out-loud. . . . decidedly not your typical Indian novel.”
Asia Pacific Forum

“[A] fine parody of Indian politics. . . . At its finest, Family reads like the ineffectual, bumbling Mr. Biswas and is written with flair. . . . It’s funny, it’s Delhi, it’s New India.”
— Ultrabrown

“[E]motionally astute. . . . Mahajan’s vivid prose magnificently captures the sensual details of urban Delhi. . . . I look forward to reading future works by this highly talented and imaginative author.”
Eclectic Closet

“[E]xtraordinarily witty. . . . one of the few books where I actually bookmarked pages in my library version (criminal.) because I laughed out loud on several occasions.”
Vicki Boykis

“Mahajan is one of the new lights of Indian literature.”Will Unwound

“I could feel the experiential quality of Mahajan’s depiction of the sweltering, chaotic, frenetic capital city of India. The same energy whips through his characters. . . astute, authentic, and absurd!”The Good Book Psychic

 

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