Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Don't Let Him Know - Sandip Roy

photo courtesy:goodreads.com
A fascinating story where different chapters piece together one complete story of a family.

This debut novel by a senior editor at Firstpost shows great promise. When I picked it up at the Santa Clara Library, it had all the keywords - Immigrant experience, secrets, generations, sexualities. Enough for intrigue to take over and to dign into find out what it is all about. 

Ramola has finally decided to move in with her son and his American wife and is still getting used to the Americanness of it all. Later when he questions his mother about a letter, the past comes back in rushes, reminding her why she as a newly married bride in the US she chose to come back to Calcutta.

What works:
  • The first chapter is very strong, the scene where Ramola tries to order a Macdonald's burger and ends up running away reminds one of the Sridevi Movie where she encounters a similar experience.
  • However, the story takes hold as various chapters come together as fragmented memories that gives an insight into the characters and their behaviour. These seemingly different chapters come together beautifully to tell a fascinating tale indeed.
  • The characters are well etched. Ramola's character has so many shades. The first chapter gives an impression of Ramola's personality and as the chapters move on, we encounter different shades to her persona. That for me was the highlight of this novel. 
  • The immigrant experience is woven in through Amit experience as he finds himself on a lonely Christmas day. On the other hand, the "exoticness" of an Indian city is duly fulfilled by using Calcutta as its setting, its narrow lanes and big ancestral houses. 
  • The device of using various incidents in order to tell the stories of Ramola, Amit and Avinash is undoubtedly was another major highlight. Roy has used the style to good effect. 
Some of the lines that stayed with me:

The quiet rose warmly throughout the house, rushing to fill in spaces that had been so frantic and busy five minutes ago.

What doesn't:
  • The story flows very well, however the reader cannot help wondering that the story designed to fit the same mould of a typical novel by an Asian American writer mould.

But that doesn't mean that it falls short in any way. It fulfills all the requirements of a great read. 

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