#59 Akhil Sharma: Fatherhood at Fifty


May 4 2022 • 35 mins

Of all the guests on Paternal over the years, it’s safe to say that Akhil Sharma was the last guy who would have expected to appear on a podcast about fatherhood. Over the past three decades he carved out a nice life as an Ivy League educated investment banker, and then a successful writer and college professor. Fatherhood never really entered the equation because, in his mind, he was worthless when it came to what he could possibly teach a child.

On this episode of Paternal, Sharma reflects on some of the complicated family backstory illustrated in his acclaimed 2014 book Family Life, which the New York Times said “reveals how love becomes warped and jagged and even seemingly vanishes in the midst of huge grief.” Sharma also discusses how a life-altering accident helped define his relationship with his parents, and influenced why he never considered having children until he was in his late 40s. Sharma is a professor at Duke University and the author of the essay A Passage to Parenthood, which appeared in the The New Yorker earlier this year.

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