The Hope Factory has two storylines that run in parallel. One is the story of Anand, a businessman. Another follows the the fortunes of Kamala, a domestic servant employed by his wife.
Summary Of the Book
Anand K. Murthy, a first generation businessman, owns an auto parts manufacturing firm, Cauvery Auto. He is now bidding for business from a Japanese firm. To win this bid, he needs to acquire more land. That, in the teeming, fast expanding city of Bangalore, is a hard proposition. But, if he does not find the land fast and build a new facility, he will lose this opportunity.
The Hope Factory also tells the story of Kamala, a widow with a young son for whom she has big dreams. Kamala works as a housemaid in Anand’s house. Vidya, Anand’s wife, with social ambitions, is a hard-to-please, capricious person to work for.
Kamala’s life is further complicated because her young son, Narayan, has fallen into bad company. She wants to give him a good education and see him in a good job, working with computers. Narayan, however, is beginning to skip school to hang out with his new friends. He begins to find ways of earning more money than his mother does.
Anand finds a broker to find him a good piece of land to build his factory. His father-in-law tries to convince Anand to employ a man he knows to find the land for him. This leads to tension in the family. Meanwhile, Anand’s agent locates a stretch of fertile farmland which the owners are willing to sell. But, in India, in a bustling city like Bangalore, this is not easy. Politics, corruption and the land mafia intervene.
Kamala also encounters more problems as she is in danger of losing her rented, tiny, one room house. The residential complex in which her house is located is set to be torn down by land developers. As Anand and Kamala seek to find solutions to their problems, the situation keeps getting worse, and the stories soon become intertwined.
The Hope Factory highlights the myriad social and political problems the country faces, but it keeps these as the background. The author focuses mainly on the lives of the two main protagonists and their families. Which, despite their surface differences, are yet poignantly similar in their basic hopes and ambitions.
About Lavanya Sankaran
Lavanya Sankaran is a Bangalore based writer. Her first published work was The Red Carpet, an anthology of short stories.
Lavanya Sankaran is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, where she studied philosophy and political science. Her short story collection, The Red Carpet, received high critical acclaim, and was a best-seller. It was nominated for the Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers award and for the Poets and Writers Magazine’s Best First Fiction award. She worked as an investment banker in New York. Lavanya Sankaran Writing Fellowship is sponsored by her at the Sangam Writers Residency. She now lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.
Fascinating book on contemporary India
Nirmal J M
6 Apr, 2015