Indian-American author Karan Mahajan's second novel, The Association of Small Bombs, opens with a narrative about the detonation of a bomb in a New Delhi marketplace in 1996, by one of the protagonists, Shockie, a man from Kashmir. The bomb kills thirteen people and injures thirty more, and as the novel unfolds, we view the bombing and its aftermath from three perspectives; Shockie's, the injured victims, and those who lost family members in the blast. In a strange way, the bombing is not the climax of the novel at all, but the foundation, and the plot deals predominantly with the consequences that affect both perpetrator and victims.
Mahajan was named Grant's Best Young American Novelist in 2017, having had this novel nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction the year before The book received widespread acclaim and the New York Times named it one of the ten best books of 2016. The book was particularly notable for the author's empathy with the victims of the bombing, and he drew on his childhood in New Delhi in order to immerse the reader in the impact that Shockie's actions had on the residents there.