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The Hope Factoryby Lavanya Sankaran
Synopses & Reviews
With humor, intelligence, and masterly prose, Lavanya Sankaran’s debut novel brilliantly captures the vitality and danger of a newly industrialized city and how it shapes the dreams and aspirations of two very different families.
Anand is a Bangalore success story: successful, well married, rich. At least, that’s how he appears. But if his little factory is to grow, he needs land and money, and, in the New India, neither of these is easy to find.
Kamala, Anand’s family’s maid, lives perilously close to the edge of disaster. She and her clever teenage son have almost nothing, and their small hopes for self-betterment depend on the contentment of Anand’s wife: a woman to whom whims come easily.
But Kamala’s son keeps bad company, and Anand’s marriage is in trouble. The murky world where crime and land and politics meet is a dangerous place for a good man, particularly one on whom the well-being of so many depends.
Rich with irony and compassion, Lavanya Sankaran’s The Hope Factory affirms her gifts as a born storyteller with remarkable prowess, originality, and wisdom.
Praise for Lavanya Sankaran’s The Red Carpet
“By the end of [the] very first story, people half a world away have been transformed into complete human beings, full of frailties and fragile self-regard, achingly sympathetic. That’s why The Red Carpet reads like a revelation. . . . I recommend this book so highly!”—Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“Throughout these fine, articulate stories, Lavanya Sankaran brings to life the new and old social worlds of Bangalore. More important, she uses the quiet dignity of her characters to reveal what’s universal in the wide rift between generations. It’s an unusually elegant and nuanced portrait.”—John Dalton, author of The Inverted Forest
“It’s a pity there aren’t more stories to be told in Carpet. They’re so much fun.”—The Dallas Morning News
“[An] animated debut . . . [These stories] are memorable for their subtle wit and convincing evocation of a dynamic world.”—Publishers Weekly
"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lavanya Sankaran is the author of The Red Carpet, a collection of short stories set in Bagalore, India, that won Poets & Writers magazine’s Best First Fiction award. Sankaran has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The Times of India, and Outlook, among other publications in America, India, Italy, and France. She studied at Bryn Mawr College and lives in Bangalore. The Hope Factory is her debut novel.
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