- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: The Dial Press (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385338198
- ISBN-13: 978-0385338196
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,748,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hope Factory: A Novel Hardcover – April 23, 2013
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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
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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Top customer reviews
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.
* The dual viewpoints (lower class woman, upper-middle class man, with the former working for the latter) were very interesting, and added great contrast to the plot
* I learned a lot about the corruption involved in seemingly ordinary Indian life, something I had not been exposed to before. Who would have thought so many pay-offs would be necessary for a simple transaction like buying a piece of land.
* The portrayal of a marriage during upward social mobility was fascinating, although I felt that the wife was too one-dimensional and not sympathetic enough.
* The plot sashayed elegantly between hope and disaster and back again, leaving the reader in the grips of anticipation.
* Many of the secondary characters were delightful in their own right, such as Anand's co-workers, the lower-class son tempted by hooligans, and a pious father ranting about his pet peeves.
This was a very skillfully done novel. I continued reading it despite the depressing nature of some of the content, and my irritation with the shallowness of Anand's wife.
I find it interesting to see how alike we all are as opposed to how different we seem
I love how one of the main characters grew up in a Brahmin family in Laxsmipuram, Mysore! I've lived in that neighborhood three times! (Just for a month a spell, but still.)