“Beautiful, thought-provoking [stories] about the costs of wanting children” (Kirkus Reviews), from the National Jewish Book Award-winning author of A Play for the End of the World (“an impressive debut” —Meg Wolitzer)”
"Whether in Brooklyn, Kolkata, upstate New York or elsewhere, these characters captured my heart and endure in my memory like loved ones.” —Mia Alvar, author of In the Country
In the fourteen masterful stories that make up this collection, Jai Chakrabarti crosses continents and cultures to explore what it means to cultivate a family today, across borders, religions, and race.
In the title story, a closeted gay man in 1980s Kolkata seeks to have a child with his lover’s wife. An Indian widow, engaged to a Jewish man, struggles to balance her cultural identity with the rituals and traditions of her newfound family. An American musician travels to see his guru for the final time—and makes a promise he cannot keep. A young woman from an Indian village arrives in Brooklyn to care for the toddler of a biracial couple. And a mystical agent is sent by a mother to solve her son’s domestic problems.
Throughout, the characters’ most vulnerable desires shape life-altering decisions as they seek to balance their needs against those of the people they hold closest. The stories in A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness capture men and women struggling with transformation and familial bonds; they traverse the intersections of countries and cultures to illuminate what it means to love in uncertain times; and they showcase the skill of a storyteller who dazzles with the breadth of his vision.
Jai Chakrabarti is the author of the novel A Play for the End of the World, which won the National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction, was long-listed for the PEN/Faulkner Award and short-listed for the Tagore Prize. He is also the author of the story collection A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness. His short fiction has received both an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize and has been anthologized in the Best American Short Stories and performed on Selected Shorts by Symphony Space. His nonfiction has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and elsewhere. Born in Kolkata, India, he now lives in New York with his family.
A Good Housekeeping Book Club Pick of the Month
"In 14 touching, heartfelt and vividly painted stories, characters grapple with the meaning of family and all the complications that arise within those units in all of their beautiful permutations. You'll laugh, cry and gasp with surprise and wonder as you read about a closeted a gay man who seeks to have a child with his lover's wife, an Indian woman balancing her cultural identity with that of her Jewish fiancé and a young woman who travels from India to the states to care for a biracial couple's toddler. Brew a cup of something cozy and settle in for an array of tales about families that may even challenge you to reflect on your own." —Good Housekeeping
“These are beautiful stories, sometimes wrenching, sometimes redeeming, always pulling us into unexpected spaces—of the world, of the human heart. Chakrabarti is an accomplished and insightful writer.” —Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, best-selling author of The Last Queen and The Forest of Enchantments
“Lush, immersive stories set in India and America about people trying to make families . . . Beautiful, thought-provoking work about the costs of wanting children.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Jai Chakrabarti is an elegant writer with clarity of vision and greatness of heart. His new book expands the world in some mysterious way.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The House of Broken Angels
“Chakrabarti follows up his piercingly inventive National Jewish Book Award winner, A Play for the End of the World, with a story collection featuring characters who bravely follow their heart’s desire toward big life changes.” —Library Journal
“Throughout the collection, Chakrabarti illustrates the challenges and rewards of raising children, and asks big questions about the definition of family.” —Time
“From National Jewish Book award-winning author Jai Chakrabarti, A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness is a short story collection you won’t be able to put down.” —HeyAlma
“A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness is a gift. Through stories that capture the depths and expanse of love, longing, faith, and identity, Jai Chakrabarti brilliantly illuminates the moments—big and small—that define our shared humanity. Poignant, incandescent, and unforgettable.” —Qian Julie Wang, New York Times best-selling author of Beautiful Country
"Chakrabarti's moving book of short stories puts familial love to the test. Characters struggle with spouses, racial conflict, and, mostly, choices about their children . . . Not one for neat endings, Chakrabarti puts the impetus on readers to decide the consequences of characters' actions and where their fates lie. It's an affecting technique for a captivating collection." —Booklist
“Finely wrought characters grapple with culture clash, marital strife, and the troubles of parenthood in Chakrabarti’s impressive collection . . . Throughout, Chakrabarti builds complicated and intriguing emotional situations, and his disquieting, unresolved endings leave the atmosphere unspoiled. This is a satisfying, vibrant exploration of family and identity.” —Publishers Weekly
“Jai Chakrabarti offers real magic with A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness, opening worlds upon worlds with each sentence. To follow him is to succumb to the pure joy of disappearing into a book completely.” —Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk
“A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness is a tender, exquisite blessing of a book, from an author whose compassion, wit and imagination feel as vast as the world itself. Whether in Brooklyn, Kolkata, upstate New York or elsewhere, these characters captured my heart and endure in my memory like loved ones.” —Mia Alvar, author of In the Country
“With a poet’s sense of compression and a wonderful feel for the catastrophic gaps that can open up between countries, people, and behaviors, Jai Chakrabarthi’s A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness is essential reading for its title story alone. It is a moving, immersive, timely collection about what we hear and don’t hear when we try to talk to one another.” —Jonathan Lee, author of High Dive and The Great Mistake
“I meant to read only the first story of Jai Chakrabarti’s masterful collection, A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness, but the characters quickly swept me away. They linger and charm, find and refuse their happinesses, parent themselves and others in endless, enigmatic ways. This is a collection that turns on breathtaking mettle and heart-rending delicacy. I can’t imagine a reader who wouldn’t find something precious in these pages.” —Marie-Helene Bertino, author of Parakeet and Safe as Houses