We are living in interesting times here in India, ever since the government decided to wage a high-profile campaign against black money, but – everyone believes – actually aimed at political opposition. Which means that the just-published novel, “The Strongman’s Daughter” is deliciously bang up-to-date.
For in the character of Vithalrao Narvekar, the corrupt, domineering, larger than life Chief Minister of Goa, we have the perfect example of what is perceived to be wrong with so much of India’s political system. Money greases the corrupt wheels of governance, the environment is wrecked for profit, money is looted from the public coffers, siphoned off, stashed away…Ms Iyer tells it as it is, making her novel totally credible.
But this novel only has corruption and strongman politics as part of its plot. Set against all this illegal money and power-play is the 21 year old daughter of the Chief Minister, an idealistic young girl, just graduated, and eager to live life and to love life, on her own terms.
Her father, used to getting his own way in all things, decides that Aditi will enter politics and get married. And when she refuses both options, all hell breaks loose.
This is a fun read – love story, clash of wills, politics, dirty business as usual – and all set against the pretty backdrop of Goa, one of India’s most laid back places.
There are some unexpected twists to the story, which I won’t share for fear of spoiling the book for you.
Very enjoyable, although it’s a bit of a sad reflection on the state of Indian politics that you, the reader, feel so familiar with the lies and money and bullying that make up Vithalrao Narvekar’s DNA. Ms Iyer has him down to a T, the archetypal overweight, calculating politician, trampling over everyone (including his only child) to get what he wants.
A modern Goan love story with a strong political background – great fun.
Published by the young, energetic publishing house of Fingerprint! (with an !), The Strongman’s Daughter costs Rs 250 in paperback.
If you want to order it now, it couldn’t be easier. Just click on the link…you know the rest!