A Person is a Prayer

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Pub Date 1 Oct 2024 | Archive Date 9 Mar 2024

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Description

An intensely moving, lyrical and often funny novel about a family whose story of migration from Kenya and India to England is told over three separate days, across six decades.

Bedi and Sushma's marriage is arranged. When they first meet, they stumble through a faltering conversation about happiness and hope and agree to go in search of these things together. But even after their children Selena, Tara and Rohan are grown up and have their own families, Bedi and Sushma are still searching.

Years later, the siblings attempt to navigate life without their parents. As they travel to the Ganges to unite their father's ashes with the opaque water, it becomes clear that each of them has inherited the same desire to understand what makes a life happy, the same confusion about this question and the same enduring hope.

A Person is a Prayer plumbs the depths of the spaces between family members and the silence that rushes in like a flood when communication deteriorates. It is about how short a life is and how the choices we make can ripple down generations.
An intensely moving, lyrical and often funny novel about a family whose story of migration from Kenya and India to England is told over three separate days, across six decades.

Bedi and Sushma's...

Advance Praise

‘An exquisitely written, incisive and evocative family saga. Ammar Kalia explores cultural complexity and human frailty with compassion, wit and generosity of spirit’ – JAKE LAMAR, author of Viper’s Dream

‘An exquisitely written, incisive and evocative family saga. Ammar Kalia explores cultural complexity and human frailty with compassion, wit and generosity of spirit’ – JAKE LAMAR, author of Viper’s...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780857305855
PRICE US$29.99 (USD)
PAGES 288

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Average rating from 17 members


Featured Reviews

Really loved the first half of the book and the narration was crisp and clear and engaging. I struggled with the second half of the book but I think that was completely purposeful as the characters struggle with their identities. I love a good cross-generational story and this was wonderfully crafted! Great debut!

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A beautiful debut, but there were times when I skimmed through it rather than engaging as much as I would have liked to, perhaps more of a me issue than an issue with the writing in the book - an enjoyable read overall.

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3.75 stars

netgalley arc

i enjoyed this exploration of family ties and finding happiness. set across a few time lines and multiple perspectives, i thought a person is a prayer captured the essence of family really nicely while also exploring cultural identity and how both of these things relate to the pursuit of happiness across generations.
the retelling the same event through multiple perspectives was really nicely done and was probably my favourite aspect of the book. Kalia managed to capture the different voices really well, while also writing so descriptively that the story really transported me from Hounslow to India and back again.
The only thing I wish was that there had been more focus on Sushma and Bedi’s marriage as although this is the foundation of the whole story, it wasn’t explored deeply, despite the first section of the book really getting me invested in their future together.

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A promising first novel on family and migration. The prose is solid, but it never quite reaches the heights of the title. A must-read for everyone who like literary fiction that follows multiple generations of the same family. Beautiful writing and topics.

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A must-read for anyone who loves literary fiction exploring various generations of the same family. Gorgeous writing and themes.

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Thank you NetGalley and Oldcastle Publishers for a ARC of this title. I really enjoyed it:
This book was a lyrical, moving journey. I hadn’t really any expectations for this book before reading it, and I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, shorter paragraphs and alternative POV’s. The book itself was an ideal length - although my only criticism is that it could have been longer (and slightly more developed towards the end).

We follow the Bedi family through different POVs, as the head of the family seeks happiness through finding a wife and starting a family. But does happiness ever really come? This story reminds you that life isn’t a fairytale and there aren’t always happy endings. It’s a very human experience. The story follows the family’s journey from Kenya to England to India. The description of India and the Ganges was amazing and so immersive - I felt like I was really there with them. I loved each character’s complexity but I do think these areas could have been explored more, or at least addressed and finished off in the ending of the book (Rohan’s shenanigans and Tara’s health).
Overall this was a lovely book that took me on an international journey. I enjoyed it and would recommend. I would also read the author’s other material based on this book.

4.5 stars rating - would be a 5 if the ending tied up the things mentioned above.

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