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The Hope Factory Hardcover – 23 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tinder Press (23 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075532787X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755327874
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.1 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,208,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

[A] well-crafted debut novel... Sankaran firmly establishes her talent through the nuances of her characters and a striking exploration of culture (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

Sankaran's debut novel, like her well-received short story collection The Red Carpet, is a vivid exposé of modern India's growing pains (Kirkus (starred review))

Book Description

An international event: a remarkable first novel of modern India, weaving together a rich tapestry of social manners and mores, ambition, greed, and love, which will establish Lavanya Sankaran as one of the most gifted and original writers of fiction today.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marand TOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a penchant for novels about the Indian subcontinent and therefore was interested when this one was offered under the Vine programme. This is the author's first novel. She apparently lives in Bangalore, where the novel is set, but was educated in the United States.

This is the story of two families, from opposite sides of the social spectrum, that of Anand, a successful but modest factory owner, and of his servant, Kamala, who lives in one room in a nearby village. It is set against the backdrop of rapidly developing Bangalore.

Anand is trying to develop his business along modern lines, with an enlightened approach to his relationship with his workers. He also works to ignore old-fashioned caste-based recruitment which his older factory manager relies on. His factory works to a degree in egalitarian fashion - a female senior manager, one canteen for factory floor and management level staff alike. Anand sees India changing around him: "It still had the power to astonish him, that he should bear witness to this transformation...". Much of the novel revolves around Anand's attempt to buy land to facilitate the expansion of his factory to enable him to enter the export market. He is a decent, moral man, trying to maintain his principles in a country where corruption is rife.

The parallel story of Kamala shows a proud widowed woman from a poor rural village also trying to maintain her principles and to bring up her son to have a bright future against all the odds, and facing enormous injustice.

The book touches on many themes - traditionalism v modernity, destruction of old ways of life, the move from country to city, poverty & inequality, caste, lack of education, insecurity, bribery & favours. I really liked it, particularly the writing style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Mankin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Well drawn characters and strong story telling make this novel a must read especially if like me you are fascinated by the changes now taking place in the Indian sub-continent. In the hands of a lesser skilled author this story probably would not have sustained my interest. But Lavanya Sankaran is a skilful writer (very good prose style). India is riddled with corruption and undergoing dramatic social and economic change. This novel focuses on two protagonists and has a powerful emotional punch. Highly recommended.
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By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bangalore. With corruption rampant, bribery a way of life, what hope can there be for honest Anand as he seeks extra land for his thriving factory? What hope too for hard working, poverty-stricken servant Kamala, she striving to ensure twelve year old son Namyan is not led astray by undesirable influences?

Here is a tale vividly set in a country on the move - small villages swallowed up by towns, farming land eagerly eyed by greedy speculators. Much is described with affection and wry humour, but here is also disturbing portrayal of aspects that should not be. Too many people are simply on the make, regardless of who may suffer in consequence.

I really took to Anand and Kamala (also her wily, enterprising son). Certain others, though, are thoroughly irritating - not least Anand's fussy, extravagant wife, he more tolerant of her than most readers will be. As for her loathsome, manipulative father Harry Chinappa - he is surely overdue for serious comeuppance.

Proof of Lavanya Sankaran's skilful writing is the concern that mounts for her two main characters. A happy outcome seems increasingly in doubt, pages anxiously turned in the hope that there WILL be one.

Many will enjoy this gentle unfolding, they becoming more involved than perhaps originally thought.
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By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in modern day India, the story of `The Hope Factory' contains 2 interwoven accounts of persons with hopes for the future but facing difficulties - an ethical businessman, Anand, attempting to expand his company and to serve his family, and an impoverished servant, Kamala, in his household seeking something better for her son. Both are surrounded by a variety of characters which are harmful as well as helpful. All characters are developed to become real, and there are thought-provoking insights to India's advancing evolution with shifts from traditional and rural to modern and urban. To emphasize this aspect are references to the past as British colonial rule, and to the future with other economically expanding nations - but the main thrust is to expose social and societal issues as caste system, politics, education, industrial relations etc. with examples of bribery, corruption, inequality, injustice etc. Writing is excellent with continually progressing themes, and readers are led to believe disaster is imminent on a number of fronts, but author Lavanya Sankaran cleverly employs humour, and she skilfully combines heartwarming episodes with the general heartbreaking circumstances of both Amand and Kamala losing control of their futures - and the denouement is entirely satisfactory. Read it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read and enjoyed the novels of Aravind Adiga and so was interested to see how this book painted the picture of Indian Society. I was not disappointed.

The novel looks at one family and the servants that serve them focussing on their hopes and dreams and the ways that life both rewards and challenges them. The world is not black and white but has many shades of grey. Those at the bottom have to fight to survive each and every day. Those who have the wealth seem to have effortlessly into collonial mode replacing the former british rulers.

I strongly recommend this book to any lovers of books on life in India. This is a book that moves you and makes you think and that makes it a great book.
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