Opening Sentence:I needed to force money from Father Joseph, and it made me nervous.
Synopsis:Ram Karan, a corrupt official in the Physical Education Department of the Delhi school system, lives in one of the city’s slums with his widowed daughter and his eight-year-old granddaughter. Bumbling, ironical, sad, Ram is also a man corroded by a guilty secret.
When Rajiv Gandhi, the likely winner of the upcoming Prime Ministerial elections, is murdered, the country is plunged into confusion and Ram, as his department’s resident bribe collector, is trapped in a series of escalating, possibly deadly political betrayals. While he tries to protect himself and his family, his daughter reveals a crime that he had hoped would be buried forever. Ram’s struggle to survive, and make amends after a life of deception, thrusts him into a world of gangsters and movie stars, riots and morgues.
Comments:An Obedient Father is a superbly written, enthralling and deeply disturbing story. Sharma’s characters alternately inspire pity and disgust. As in real life, they are neither purely good or purely evil, but beautifully human in their fragility. Thus, while we feel disgust for the abuser, we also feel empathy. And, while we feel empathy for the abused, we also feel disgust.
I feel I should warn readers that there are a few descriptions of sexual abuse in this book that are disturbingly realistic and this book is an emotional roller-coaster. Having said that, I believe this is the best-written book I have read in a while and I will definitely watching for more books by this author.
- Critics call for fathers in India to take leading role in addressing rape, gender issues (pri.org)
- To the Young Women and Men of Delhi: Thinking about Rape from India Gate (kafila.org)
- How Childhood Abuse Can Manifest in Adult Relationships (drlauraberman.com)
- India Ink: The Delhi Gang Rape Accused: Vinay Sharma, a ‘Quiet and Simple’ Boy (india.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Ceop warns over ‘alarming new trend’ in online sex abuse of children (schoolsimprovement.net)