The Hope Factory

Lavanya Sankaran. Dial, $26 (374p) ISBN 978-0-385-33819-6
Sankaran’s well-crafted debut novel, set in Bangalore, traces the disparate yet intersecting lives of Anand Murthy, principal at Cauvery Auto, and Kamala, his family’s maid, who is struggling to provide for her 12-year-old son. Although Anand married into an influential family, he harbors dreams of expanding his factory without the aid of his meddlesome father-in-law. Yet to do so he must locate land and additional funding in a country where bribery is expected and nothing is assured. His lofty goal leads him into unknown territory that could jeopardize everything he’s tried to build. While Anand and Kamala are both desperately working for what they want, the distance between their worlds is further emphasized by the chasm between their goals. As Kamala is given more responsibility in Anand’s household, she faces eviction from her one-room home in the wake of development: “Overnight, the villagers’ character changed: from farmers protective of their own to businessmen eager to engage with strangers in their midst.” Kamala tries to shield this change, and the burden of new responsibility, from her son while planning for his future. Sankaran firmly establishes her talent through the nuances of her characters and a striking exploration of culture. Agent: Lane Zachary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 04/23/2013
Open Ebook - 218 pages - 978-0-8129-8462-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-4722-1461-4
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