“A perfect debut novel, ambitious and original. With a sweeping array of emotions and uncanny writing skills, Shanthi Sekaran leaps to the forefront of her literary generation. The novel is funny, interesting, intelligent, and heartbreaking. It goes way beyond any parochial limitations to become universal. If she can do all this in her first novel, just imagine what she can do in the future.”
--Stephen Dixon, critically-acclaimed author of I and Old Friends
I have just, very happily, surrendered most of a weekend to the rich pleasures of THE PRAYER ROOM. Like many of my favorite novels, it follows the history of an ordinary yet very particular family, spinning out the secrets and strivings, the follies and nobilities, of adults and children alike. I return to these stories again and again because they are the ones about the most important decisions we make from the heart. THE PRAYER ROOM is sure to be compared, justifiably and favorably, with THE NAMESAKE, but Shanthi Sekaran has a voice all her own, and it is delightful.
--Julia Glass, winner of the National Book Award and author of Three Junes
Shanthi Sekaran’s The Prayer Room adds yet another indispensable layer to the continually evolving Great American Immigrant Narrative. A novel equals parts Californian, British, and Indian, Sekaran gracefully weaves us in and out of the rises, falls, epiphanies, and frustrations of grandfathers, children, sisters, aunts, neighbors, lovers, and ghosts even with just the right balance of ardent empathy and perspicacious investigation. From the beaches of Kerala to the suburbs of Sacramento, from the antics of young triplets to the gravity of ancient deities, The Prayer Room’s many universes create a timeless tragicomic tapestry of truly international, multicultural, and multigenerational import.
--Porochista Khakpour, author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects
Fans of Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro, and James Salter, rejoice. THE PRAYER ROOM--a love story that spans decades--is full of sentences to savor. Sekaran's characters are complex and fascinating, and the worlds they inhabit--from Madras to Sacramento--are richly drawn. I loved this book.
-- Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to be Lost and Forgive Me