Lahiri won the $50,000 prize, beating strong contenders like Pakistani author Bilal Tanweer (The Scatter Here is Too Great), Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone), Sri Lankan author Romesh Gunesekera (Noontide Toll) and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (The Mirror of Beauty).
The Pulizer Prize winning Indian-American author was not present to receive the award at the Jaipur Literature Festival, but communicated her thoughts via Skype.
“I had published this book with the apprehension that I had not done justice to the time and events that inspired the story. I am particularly proud of this prize,” she said.
Jury chair Keki N. Daruwalla said: “This is a superb novel written in restrained prose with moments of true lyricism. It starts with a sense of loss and trauma due to the death and then the ongoing presence of a key character.”
“The novel is partly political and partly familial, starting with an unromanticised account of the Indian Naxalite movement and ending with a series of individual emotional resolutions,” he added.
The previous winners of the prize, which is in its fifth year, are Pakistani author H.M. Naqvi (Homeboy), Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka (Chinaman), Jeet Thayil(Narcopolis) and Cyrus Mistry (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer).