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The Hope Factory: A Novel Hardcover – April 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; 1st Printing edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385338198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385338196
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,248,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Anand Murthy is a driven young man who, despite his birth into the scholarly Brahmin caste of Bangalore, makes a name for himself as an entrepreneur in the field of automotive engineering. When his small factory begins to attract international contracts, Anand needs to acquire land. One of his servants, Kamala, is also in need of space, namely, a place where her son can grow into manhood without bad influences. Anand and Kamala narrate Sankaran’s masterful novel in turns, each aware of the other’s trials through the master-servant relationship they share. Though they exist in separate economic and social spheres, they are linked by the common threads of optimism and hard work. The different information each narrator is privy to enables the reader to see the middle ground between them, a device that creates irresistible tension and makes this novel impossible to put down. Within this compelling tale, Sankaran addresses government corruption in India, and the balance that must be struck between new industry and the traditions of the past in a culture where both are essential for survival. --Amber Peckham

Review

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

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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I'm looking forward to Sankaran's next release already!
Sarah Behan
Real life, real emotions and real problems of life mixed together to create a work of fiction that could very well be facts representing many families of our country.
b00k r3vi3ws
The author develops her characters and their settings very well and her writing is heartfelt.
fiction_fridaynirvana_com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By fiction_fridaynirvana_com on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is the story of two main protagonists - Anand K. Murthy who runs his own business, and Kamala, a housemaid who works in his home. Anand is the owner of Cauvery Auto, a small factory which manufactures pressed metal sheets for car parts. He is marries to Vidya and they have two kids. Kamala works at the Murthy home. Her overarching objective in life is to educate her young son Narayan so he can have a bright future, and for that she scrimps and saves.

Both Anand and Kamala, socially and financially in very different classes, face large life-changing problems. The author touches on important struggles via Anand and Kamala's stories, and creates a very believable picture of modern Indian society. It is divided into the haves-and-the have-nots, Kamala and Anand at the ends of a very deep chasm between the two. Society seems to be losing its moral moorings. Greed knows no bounds, and a culture of kowtowing to the rich and powerful, while treading upon the weak, seems to be very much the rage.

This book seemed pleasant reading from the outset, but as it progressed it gathered heft and conviction, resulting in a very satisfying read. The author develops her characters and their settings very well and her writing is heartfelt. Her unfussy prose, descriptive detail and deft characterization make reading a pleasure. I enjoyed this book very much, and would highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Two families face working in Bangalore face very different challenges. It took a bit of courtship for me to like the earnest, hard working Anand. I was as mystified as Anand himself with his spoiled and sometimes vicious wife, Vidya. The labyrinthine toils of his business day can run long, but are perhaps the only ways to convey the struggles he put forth daily. Finally what wins the day for Anand is his lovely relationship with his children.

Meanwhile toiling in his home is the noble Kamala. Widowed young, she has given her all for her son Narayan. I have to love Narayan. He is much more of a Momma's boy than the blurb seems to imply. And he has a witty side. Honestly Kamala can be a pill. Her stony climb to precarious safety is a story of deep determination that she herself cedes has sucked her essence.

The book ended up compelling me despite our rocky start. The world of Bangalore is a world away. The press of population is beyond what I can easily understand. While the characters certainly have a universality, they are also foreign in their unquestioning assumption of duty and propriety. Family discord is a much deeper concern to these characters than one might see in the West. So I would recommend a trip to the world of the hope factory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By muddyboy1 on May 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This review might just be evidence of a cultural divide between myself and many foreign authors. The book is a well written and sensitive portrayal of two families. One is that of the owner of the "Hope Factory" and the other is that of the family of one of his servants. Both wish for better lives for themselves and those they love and are linked together with regard to the success of the factory. The characters are the kind you root for in a book but the problem for me is that not a whole lot really goes on in terms of the action which might just be my Western impatience to move the plot along. Still, it is a worthwhile book for those who would like to learn about Indian culture.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lavanya is another South Asian writer who brings such resonance and beauty to this genre of fiction, pulling you into her world with exquisite language and carefully drawn characters. If you haven't read her story collection, The Red Carpet, you are again in for another treat! This story is one that you will want to return to again, just to enjoy the rhythm and imagery that she creates so seemingly effortless. I recommend her to anyone that loves Jhumpa Lahiri and Ru Freeman!
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By F. Simmy on March 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't like the book when I first started reading it, but because it was recommended bookclub reading, I stuck with it. When I got half way through the book my interest picked up. The story was interesting for a first time author.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I can say in all honesty that this is the best novel I ever read that made me think deeply about the role of property rights in promoting human happiness. There are several themes in THE HOPE FACTORY, but for me the predominant one was the difficulties facing hope--considered here as ordinary men and women wanting a better future and planning for it--and how the characters strive to overcome them.

There are two main characters--Anand, an educated factory owner and Kamala, an illiterate maid who works for him--and each is fleshed out into a complete human being, with a past, a present, and a view of the future. Without giving too much of the plot away, each of them wants something terribly badly, and in each case the motive is altruistic. The attention Sankaran lavishes on each goes beyond the usual "tale of two cities" portrayal, and you really get the sense that these are both complex characters.

Again, I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but the single person both Anand and Kamala have in common is Vidya, Anand's wife and Kamala's boss, who comes across as nearly entirely unsympathetic. When I finished the book (with a little regret, because I hadn't wanted it to end, and some satisfaction, because I got to see how the story resolved itself), I was hungry to read more, and I thought that a short story or segment describing some of the book's events--like the big Diwali party or the confrontation near the end (spoilers) from Vidya's view would add even more depth.

But as it is, this is a fantastic novel, and I'm eager to read more from the author.
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