The Hope Factory
With the increasingly industrialised city as a busy backdrop, the stories of two very different families are told in spare but effective prose by Lavanya Sankaran, in a strong debut novel. Sankaran previously penned The Red Carpet, a well-received collection of short stories.
In The Hope Factory, Anand K Murthy is a successful man with a wife and a bright future, but he's under the gun. He needs to expand his busy factory if he hopes to take advantage of Bangalore's rapid growth. That takes land and money, both of which are in short supply in India.
In stark contrast, Anand's maid Kamala, owns very little. What's worse is that her marriage is failing, and her young son is hanging out with a bad crowd.
The concurrent stories about how these two disparate families fare, and whether they succeed, provide enough dramatic tension to hold the reader through until the final satisfying pages.
* Mark Angeles