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The Hope Factory by Lavanya Sankaran

The Hope Factory

by Lavanya Sankaran

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6419186,178 (3.84)17
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    The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (ashmolean1)
    ashmolean1: These both compare and contrast the lives of the employer and employee in India in well written highly readable styles.

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Hope Factory chronicles the lives of Anand, a wealthy factory owner and Kamala, a poor maid who works in Anand’s household. The difference between the classes in Bangalore is striking. Kamala lives in a one room building without electricity or running water. She thinks that the fact that American housekeepers live in multiple room houses and even have cars is a myth. She desperately wants her son Narayan to stay in school and off the streets so he can have a better life than her.

I love books about India and Indian culture. This book was a reality check about the wide income disparity and heartbreaking poverty that exists in the country. The lives of both main characters were not romanticized. The characters had depth and even though they all had flaws I was able to empathize with most of them. The situations they were in had my stomach in knots – especially Anand trying to get more land to expand his factory. It’s a sign of great writing when it evokes such an emotional response in me. Even if you’re not as intrigued by all things Indian like me I think you will enjoy this book. ( )
  mcelhra | Jun 18, 2015 |
I received this book for free as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I've been losing pace in my reading, so unfortunately I'm just finishing it.

I say "unfortunately," because this is a lovely book. It took me about 100 pages to really learn all the characters and feel connected, but I have flown through the last half. I just couldn't put it down. I wish I'd opened it up the day I got it.

The Hope Factory is the first novel by Lavanya Sankaran. She has published a work of short stores, along with pieces for many American and international publications. In reflecting, it seems this book even passes the Bechdel Test, though I should take more notes and drink less wine when I read so I could give examples.

It is set in Bangalore, India, and it follows several characters facing the obstacles of daily life and the occasional life crises that fewer of us face. Once the tension picked up after the characters were developed and their relationships established, I found myself racing through the pages, praying for a happy ending. (It's called The Hope Factory! It has to end well!) It's truly a remarkable first novel, and I would recommend it. I'm looking forward to Sankaran's next release already! ( )
  sarahlizfits | Jun 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book describes two very different lives in a parallel existence. A servant, extremely poor, single, with a child to care for: and a young, successful factory owner who outwardly has a perfect life, with a lovely wife, home and children. Under this picture, is a woman who has the will but not the means or education to rise above her lowly station, and a man with an empty marriage, an attraction to another woman and a large sense of right and wrong which makes operating in a corruption-filled political and business environment extremely difficult. Add to this a overbearing in-law and an uncontrolled temper and you have an interesting story. Although I felt many of these issues were not well resolved at the end of the somewhat overly long book, it still was a good book. ( )
  bibliophileofalls | Jun 16, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Afraid I just couldn't get into it enough to properly review. ( )
  Quiltinfun06 | May 19, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385338198, Hardcover)

With humor, intelligence, and masterly prose, Lavanya Sankaran’s debut novel brilliantly captures the vitality and danger of a newly industrialized city and how it shapes the dreams and aspirations of two very different families.
Anand is a Bangalore success story: successful, well married, rich. At least, that’s how he appears. But if his little factory is to grow, he needs land and money, and, in the New India, neither of these is easy to find.
Kamala, Anand’s family’s maid, lives perilously close to the edge of disaster. She and her clever teenage son have almost nothing, and their small hopes for self-betterment depend on the contentment of Anand’s wife: a woman to whom whims come easily.
But Kamala’s son keeps bad company, and Anand’s marriage is in trouble. The murky world where crime and land and politics meet is a dangerous place for a good man, particularly one on whom the well-being of so many depends.
Rich with irony and compassion, Lavanya Sankaran’s The Hope Factory affirms her gifts as a born storyteller with remarkable prowess, originality, and wisdom.
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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:32 -0400)

Anand, the proud owner of a small factory, finds his future uncertain when it collides with urban forces out of his control and a woman named Kamala who is determined to make a better life for her son.

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