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Em and the Big Hoom Audiobook, by Jerry Pinto Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jerry Pinto Narrator: Neil Shah Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2014 ISBN: 9781483007687
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First published by a small press in India, Jerry Pinto’s devastatingly original debut novel has already taken the literary world by storm. Suffused with compassion, humor, and hard-won wisdom, Em and the Big Hoom is a modern masterpiece, and its American publication is certain to be one of the major literary events of the season.

Meet Imelda and Augustine, or—as our young narrator calls his unusual parents—Em and the Big Hoom. Most of the time, Em smokes endless beedies and sings her way through life. She is the sun around which everyone else orbits. But as enchanting and high-spirited as she can be, when Em’s bipolar disorder seizes her she becomes monstrous, sometimes with calamitous consequences for herself and others. This accomplished debut is graceful and urgent, with a one-of-a-kind voice that will stay with readers long after the last page.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Em and the Big Hoom is a beautiful book, a child’s-eye view of madness and sorrow, full of love, pain, and, unaccountably, much wild comedy. One of the very best books to come out of India in a long, long time.”

    Salman Rushdie, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “It is utterly persuasive and deeply affecting: stylistically adventurous it is never self-indulgent; although suffused with pain it shows no trace of self-pity. Parts of it are extremely funny, and its pages are filled with endearing and eccentric characters. Em and the Big Hoom is a profoundly moving book: I cannot remember when I last read something as touching as this.”

    Amitav Ghosh, New York Times bestselling author and Man Booker Prize finalist

  • “Pinto chases the elusive portrait of a mother who simply said of herself that she was mad. As I read the novel, that also portrays a very tender marriage and the life of a Goan family in Bombay, it drowned me. I mean that in the best way. It plunged me into a world so vivid and capricious that when I finished, I found something had shifted and changed within myself. This is a world of magnified and dark emotion. The anger is a primal force, the sadness wild and raw. Against this, the jokes are hilarious, reckless, free falling…This is a rare, brilliant book, one that is wonderfully different from any other that I have read coming out of India.”

    Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss, winner of the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award

  • “Pinto’s narrative is both brutal and beautiful.”

    Business Standard Book Review

  • “Deeply engrossing, finely tuned, and told with a moving and luminous clarity, this is a splendid and memorable debut.”


  • “Pinto’s debut offers a heartbreaking glimpse into the daily horrors and sometimes humors of growing up with a mentally ill parent…Even in her many betrayals, Em is charming; the narrator’s depiction of her is unflinching and honest, and relayed in a tidy voice that’s nearly matter-of-fact. The result is a trim but deeply felt first novel that successfully navigates some difficult territory—identity, madness, our obligations to one another—without ever becoming bogged down.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Neil Shah uses his voice effectively, adding layers and depth to all of these characters.”


  • “Although it’s set in India, Em and the Big Hoom is a relevant and resonant book for any audience, anywhere, transcending territory and nationality even as it reflects upon them. It is a great big wide novel with a voice so unique and yet, somehow, so familiar that its words ring in your ears long after you’ve left these pages, calling you back, again and again, to a story that demands to be read.”

    Lauren Slater, author of Opening Skinner’s Box and Prozac Diary

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About the Author

Jerry Pinto is a writer of poetry, prose, and children’s fiction; a journalist; and the winner of numerous literary awards. Em and the Big Hoom, his first novel, won the 2013 Crossword Book Award for fiction and the Hindu Literary Award. He lives in Mumbai, India.

About the Narrator

Neil Shah is an Audie Award–nominated narrator and voice-over artist who has recorded numerous audiobooks and won an AudioFile Earphones Award. His reading include I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo by Anjan Sundaram. He is a classically trained actor with an MFA from the Old Globe / University of San Diego program and has appeared on off-Broadway and regional stages, as well as in film and television.