Fatland, by Deben Roy
A satire of contemporary India by one of the most striking Indian literary intellects of our time, Deben Roy, who has published numerous translations and some of his fiction, under a pseudonym.
See above for the opening page, which is energizing and indicative.
We will add more once we obtain our first review.
manuscript (289 pp.)
BOOK REVIEW from Kirkus Reviews
A tale of lust and skullduggery in modern India from Roy.
When rising Bollywood starlet Sulekha Dayal is found dead by her own hand, the focus is not on the poor girl’s death but
the diary she was known to keep. The diary contained lurid details of her dalliances with more than one powerful man,
specifically the aging matinee idol Mohan Raj and Minister of Industries Akash Sharma. The plot eventually hinges on
finding said diary. Offsetting such sleaze is the book’s heroine Monica Moitro, a righteous and intrepid TV news anchor
and interviewer determined to get to the bottom of it all. As it turns out, Mohan found the diary before the police got to
Sulekha’s apartment: He realizes its blackmail value, so Sharma is even more determined to get it and destroy it. The
author inserts a clever subplot involving American industrialist Rupert “Rupee” Carter, who hopes to merge with Patel
Steel, a real prize, and his love affair with Patel’s niece, Anjali. Poor Mohan is almost run over and then beat up by thugs
employed by Jagdish Bhanwar, an old friend of Sharma’s, whom he later cavalierly betrays to save his own skin. In the
end, the bad guys get their just deserts, sort of. But the book is really about the machinations of the privileged “fat” (as in
“fat cats”). Sharma was mega-rich even before he was appointed to the cabinet, and he has an oily charm that has allowed
him to slip comfortably through life. Mohan, the aging heartthrob, is clueless about his own stupidity. Roy loves puns and
wordplay, as in phrases such as “flourish of strumpets” and “Reason, as the fellow said, is six-sevenths of treason.” Time
and again he interrupts the narrative to expatiate on his theme that the rich, like the poor, are always with us: But, unlike
the poor, the fat cats call the shots. We “thins” (his metaphor) just survive as best we can.
Roy weaves an intriguing plot that’s bound together by a lovably snarky tone.