Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Half Life

Half Life

A Novel

Roopa Farooki

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

"It's time to stop fighting, and go home." Those were the words, written by a minor but well-reputed Bengali poet, that finally persuaded Aruna Ahmed Jones to exit her ground-floor Victorian flat wearing only jeans and a t-shirt, carrying nothing more substantial than a handbag, and keep 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. When Aruna left for London, she was fleeing many things: her recently deceased father, the only family she'd ever had; her best friend and lover, Jazz, and the life they'd tried, and failed, to create together; the complicated psychological diagnosis she preferred to forget.

But 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 Jazz, with her past, and even with herself—that is hard. With shades of Slumdog Millionaire and The Namesake, Roopa Farooki's novel is luminous and gripping.


King 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...


Praise for Half Life

“A lovely, graceful, and utterly compelling love story.” —Entertainment Weekly

“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

“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 with praise for Roopa Farooki

“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 a candy apple of a book, an alluring confection that is substantial and healthful at its heart....This 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.

Roopa Farooki

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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