Author Akhil Sharma Talks at Narrative Medicine Rounds

On October 7th, the Narrative Medicine program held an event with guest speaker Akhil Sharma, award-winning author of An Obedient Father and Family Life.

Sharma talked about his latest book, Family Life, an autobiographical novel about a family of Indian immigrants to America. After an accident in a swimming pool, the protagonist's older brother becomes severely brain damaged, and the family completely changes. They must become his caregivers, forced to accept a great loss and to deal with his needs. The protagonist feels the pressure of being the only healthy son, and at the same time feels overlooked as his parents tend to his brother's needs.

The writer described his writing process. The novel took him more than ten years to write and prompted him to read innumerable books in search of inspiration.

He also mentioned the therapeutic effect that writing can have: "I had a desire to talk about the situation in specifics; I knew of course that these situations are shared experiences, and I was hoping that it would be of comfort to people."

You can listen to the full Narrative Medicine Round here, or find out more about our Narrative Medicine program.

The event was part of the Narrative Medicine Rounds, lectures or readings presented by scholars, clinicians, or writers engaged in work at the intersection between narrative and health care. They are held on the first Wednesday of each month (September to May) from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in the Columbia University Medical Center Faculty Club, followed by a reception.