Half Life

Roopa Farooki

St. Martin's Press

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On the morning that changes everything, Aruna Ahmed Jones walks out of her ground-floor Victorian apartment in London wearing only jeans and a t-shirt, carrying nothing more substantial than a handbag, and keeps on walking.  Leaving behind the handsome Dr. Patrick Jones, her husband of less than a year, Aruna heads to Heathrow, where she boards a plane bound for Singapore and her old life.  Educated and beautiful, Aruna has a desperate need to risk it all.  But why?  Waiting for her is a messy past and a perfect past lover she had once abandoned without even saying goodbye – a story left unfinished – until now.


Aruna is not running away from home, she is running back to the home she always had, before it became impossible for her to stay.  Before her father, the only family she’d ever known, passed away.  Before she tried, and failed, to create a life and a family with her best friend and lover, Jazz.  Before her doctor delivered a complicated psychological diagnosis she’d rather forget.  After years of fleeing the ghosts that continue to haunt her, Aruna is about to discover that running away is really the easy part; it is coming home—making peace with her past, with Jazz and those they have loved—that is hard.  Spanning the world from London to Singapore to India and back again, Half Life is a richly layered tale of love and conflict, friendship and sacrifice, the luminous story of a young woman who risks everything in order to find where she truly belongs.

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ArunaKing Edward’s Road, Bethnal Green, London
It’s time to stop fighting, and go home. Those were the words which finally persuaded Aruna to walk out of her ground-floor Victorian flat in Bethnal Green, and keep on walking. One step at a time, one foot, and then the other, her inappropriately flimsy sandals flip-flopping on the damp east London streets; she avoids the dank, brown puddles, the foil glint of the takeaway containers glistening with the vibrant slime of sweet and sour sauce, the mottled banana skin left on the pavement like a practical joke, but otherwise walks in a

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Praise for Half Life

 “A lovely, graceful, and utterly compelling love story.” --EntertainmentWeekly

“Compelling… Farooki’s hypnotic narrative is driven by a delicate, probing intensity, full of grace and poignancy.” –Publishers Weekly

"Lovers of literary fiction will not want to miss this vibrant, moving novel from the gifted Farooki." --Booklist


"Utterly compelling...Moments of utter emotional bleakness are rendered bearable by the fragile beauty of the images Farooki uses to describe them. This is proper storytelling  – we are provided with a character we find ourselves caring about, and want to discover what becomes of her. One thing will always stand out when it matters: the author's voice. And Farooki has one to be proud of." --The Independent (UK)


“A heartfelt tale that skips seamlessly from continent to continent and reveals how the ghosts of our pasts have to be laid to rest before we can come back home.”

--Farahad Zama, author of The Marriage Bureau for Rich People series


Praise for Roopa Farooki:


“Aspirations and family ties play out across three generations of the Khalil family in Farooki's fine new novel…. [A] flawed yet likable cast… question what, exactly, leads to a more fulfilled life. This character- and culture-rich novel will appeal to Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith fans.”

--Publishers Weekly on Corner Shop


“Farooki's characters are convincingly complex… While her first novel, Bitter Sweets, was called "enjoyably breezy" (New York Times), this work has a depth to it that requires more substantial adjectives. Highly recommended.”

Library Journal on Corner Shop


“A complex exploration of the ever-changing nature of wants and desires and the consequences of achieving one’s dreams, Farooki’s tale eschews easy answers for the complex, appealing characters that people its pages.”

Booklist on Corner Shop


 “[An] enjoyably breezy book… Despite its emphasis on deception, dislocation and the loss of love, [Bitter Sweets] retains a cheery consistency: It has managed to be sunnily devious from the start. And it delivers a refreshing message. Only by means of all their elaborate deceptions do these characters figure out who they really are.”

–Janet Maslin, The New York Times


“Fast-paced and populated with characters as colorful as a closetful of saris, Farooki’s debut follows three generations of an Indian family….While there are enough surprise plot twists to keep the tale entertaining, it’s the characters’ emotional musings that make it memorable.”

People (3 stars) on Bitter Sweets


“Roopa Farooki’s delicious debut novel…is a candy apple of a book, an alluring confection that is substantial and healthful at its heart….This book…is simply, shrewdly sweet.”

More magazine on Bitter Sweets


“This sparkling, fresh debut follows three generations of a family caught up in the web of their own deceit….Farooki’s vibrant characters leap off the page and straight into the imagination in this clever and intricate novel.”

Booklist (starred review) on Bitter Sweets

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Roopa Farooki

Roopa Farooki was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and brought up in London.  She graduated from New College, Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and worked in advertising before writing fiction full time.  Roopa now lives in Southeast England and Southwest France with her husband and two young sons, and teaches creative writing at the Canterbury Christ Chuch University masters' program.

Roopa Farooki

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Available Formats and Book Details

Half Life
Roopa Farooki

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429924696
ISBN10: 1429924691
272 pages


St. Martin's Press
April 2010
ISBN: 9780312577902
ISBN10: 0312577907
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 272 pages

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
July 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312577919
ISBN10: 0312577915
5 5/8 x 8 15/16 inches, 272 pages

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