In Manthiram's After the Tsunami, Siddhartha, an Indian man, appears to have it all: a successful career as a schoolteacher in the United States, a perceptive wife, and a son and daughter who respect him as much as they adore him. However, Siddhartha's past haunts him as he cannot help but relive the brutal and fearful events he faced as a child in an Indian orphanage.Despite his achievement and the physical distance he has put between himself and the harrowing events of his youth, those events persist and impose themselves upon his life. At the age of nine, Siddhartha loses his family to a tsunami and is taken in by a boys' home, run entirely by 'Mothers' who are physically and emotionally abusive.Siddhartha alternates between describing the traumatic conditions of his confinement as a child and his seemingly carefree life in America. Only when his daughter, engaged to an Indian man, asks Siddhartha to return to his homeland is he driven to confront his childhood. Siddhartha knows that he must visit the orphanage one last time.He must return to the place of his youth's destruction to let go of his past or be lost in self-torture forever. Cutting in its clarity and profoundly insightful, After the Tsunami constructs an astute landscape of friendship despite depravity, compassion amidst horror, resiliency above misfortune. This is a powerful first novel of survival and redemption. After the Tsunami will haunt and move readers everywhere.
ANNAM MANTHIRAM is also the author of the Dysfunction: Stories, which was a Finalist in the 2010 Elixir Press Fiction Award. Annam's work has been published in over twenty literary journals, including Cream City Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and Monkeybicycle. A graduate of the M.A. Writing program at the University of Southern California, Ms. Manthiram resides in New Mexico.