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The Amazing Absorbing Boy by Rabindranath Maharaj
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The Amazing Absorbing Boy by Rabindranath Maharaj
Paperback $17.95
Sep 20, 2011 | ISBN 9780307397287

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  • Sep 20, 2011 | ISBN 9780307397287

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  • Jan 26, 2010 | ISBN 9780307374028

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Product Details


WINNER 2011 – Toronto Book Award
WINNER 2010 – Trillium Book Award
CBC Canada Reads – Ontario Top Ten Nominee

“Maharaj is a sensitive observer who renders the familiar new and strange in this bittersweet tale of an everyday hero navigating a new land.”
— Camilla Gibb
“An immigrant’s tale unlike any we’ve been told, The Amazing Absorbing Boy walks our streets with fresh eyes, taking us to places we’ve been many times and show us what we’ve missed. This is a book Canadians have been waiting a long time to read.”
— Steven Galloway
The Amazing Absorbing Boy is an amazing, absorbing read, one that opens a door on a strange new world called Canada. In prose that is filled with wonder and gentle humour, Maharaj ushers us through this culture from the perspective of one who has just landed in this cold, liberating, frightening and heavenly country, which is made of many countries, this place we all call home. To read Maharaj’s novel is to laugh at ourselves, to wonder at ourselves, and most importantly, to understand ourselves. If you haven’t yet discovered Rabindranath Maharaj, discover him with this novel.”
— Gail Anderson-Dargatz
“Robin Maharaj’s novel, The Amazing Absorbing Boy, is a funny/tender book, to my knowledge an entirely new way of surveying the urban landscape and finding not just the unguessed at, unvisited parts of Toronto but of the Modern City. Highly original in its premise, it is in part an homage and in part a spoof of the sub-genre of super hero comic books — a highly intelligent, roaringly funny homage.  Put aside the sombre ‘I must read this book because it might be a form-of self-betterment’ notion that’s been drilled into you about CanLit. Be amazed. Be absorbed. Have fun. It won’t hurt a bit.”
— Wayne Johnston

“Maharaj . . . offers an exhilarating interpretation of immigrant experience. . . . Maharaj superbly articulates the longing for home, on the one hand, and the dream of success in Canada on the other.”
— The Globe and Mail
“Think you know Toronto? Then try getting another perspective. You won’t find a fresher one than in The Amazing Absorbing Boy. . . . Highly recommended.”
— NOW (Toronto)
“Maharaj’s comic-tinged fantasy serves as a particularly apt metaphor for aspects of the modern immigrant experience. . . . Maharaj expertly captures the varied carols of [Toronto’s] urban multiculture.”
The Walrus
“The language has a charming, natural ease. . . . But it is also a novel with deeper layers. At heart it is a rich exploration of the immigrant psychodrama of attraction and repulsion, welcome and paranoia, perception and misunderstanding.”
Toronto Star
“Line for line, Maharaj is a superb stylist.”
— Quill & Quire

Praise for Rabindranath Maharaj:
“For the record, [Maharaj] is a more accomplished writer than Vassanji and a livelier novelist than Mistry.”
— Philip Marchand, Toronto Star


Toronto Book Award WINNER 2011

Author Q&A

1.       How would you summarize your book (The Amazing Absorbing Boy) in one sentence?
A young boy reconstructs a strange new city from his memories of comic books

2.       How long did it take you to write this book?
One year

3.       Where is your favorite place to write?

At a coffee shop in Ajax

4.       How do you choose your characters’ names?

Instinctively.  Or I use an arbitrary name until the right one emerges as I am writing

5.       How many drafts do you go through?

Typically, two.

6.       If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Or maybe Don Quixote.

7.       If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?

Some wide-eyed seventeen-year-old boy. Maybe the actor from Slumdog Millionaire, though he’s older

8.       What’s your favourite city in the world?

Anywhere with crumbling mansions and fat happy people selling local herbs

9.       If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask?

Maybe Cervantes. Will the novel survive?  

10.    When do you write best, morning or night?

Both. Late mornings and late nights

11.    Who is the first person who gets to you read your manuscript?

My agent, Hilary McMahon

12.    Do you have a guilty pleasure read?

Recently, comic books

13.    What’s on your nightstand right now?

Summertime by Coetzee, and, A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

14.    What is the first book you remember reading?

Something by Enid Blyton.

15.    Did you always want to be a writer?


16.    What do you drink or eat while you write?

Coffee in the mornings, tea in the nights

17.    Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?

Depends on where I am, but mostly laptop

18.    What do you wear when you write?

Freshly spun silken robes. However, I settle for anything that’s loose and comfortable

19.    How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?

Depends on the type of story and the level of intimacy I would want to create between narrator and reader

20.    What is the best gift someone could give a writer?

Peace and quiet.

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