Book Review: Don't Let Him Know by Sandip Roy


  • ISIN: 978-93-84052-41-6
  • Genre: Fiction / Drama
  • Publishers: Bloomsbury
  • Price: Rs. 499/- (I received the book for review from the publisher)
In a boxy apartment building in an American university town, Romola Mitra, a newly arrived young bride, anxiously awaits her first letter from home in India. When she accidentally opens the wrong letter, it changes her life. Decades later, her son Amit finds that letter and thinks he has discovered his mother's secret. But secrets have their own secrets sometimes, and a way of following their keepers.

Amit does not know that Avinash, his dependable and devoted father, lurks on gay Internet groups at times, unable to set aside his lifelong attraction to men. Avinash has no idea that his dutiful wife had once romanced a dashing Bengali filmstar, whose memory she keeps tucked away in a diary amongst her silk saris.

Growing up in Calcutta, in a house bustling with feisty grandmothers, Amit has been shielded from his parents' secrets. A successful computer engineer, he settles in San Francisco, torn between his new life and his duties towards the one he has left behind.

Moving from adolescent rooftop games to adult encounters in gay bars, from hair salons in Calcutta to McDonald's drive-thrus in California, Don't Let Him Know is an unforgettable story about family, the struggle between having what we want and doing what we feel we must – and the sacrifices we make for those we love. Tender, powerful, and beautifully told, Don't Let Him Know marks the arrival of a brave new voice. 

Behind The book

About the author

Sandip Roy is Senior Editor at the popular news portal and blogs for the Huffington Post. He has been a longtime commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio programme in the US, and has a weekly radio postcard for public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also an editor with New America Media. Sandip has won several awards for journalism and contributed to various anthologies including Storywallah!, Contours of the Heart, Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India, Out! Stories from the New Queer India, New California Writing 2011 and The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India. Sandip lives in Kolkata.

Me thinks

I like it when I am able to get exactly what the author is trying to say through the book. And here I was bang on to my understanding which thrilled me beyond words. I loved reading this book for many reasons. One ofcourse topping the list is my undying love for Kolkata which forms the base of the story. Two it is a pure drama based of family and relationships in an Indian family which is one of my most oft read genres. Three the cover, blurb and the author's bio looked very promising. Four I came across few reviews on the internet and all that it did to me was to make me more curious about this book.

This book deals with the fragility of Indian marriages so beautifully. I have always wondered on what grounds do the Indian marriages stand so tall and strong. And perhaps this book was one of the answers for me.

I loved the way the author has woven so many short stories together to form a whole book.  Amit, Avinash and Romola - Father, mother and son who also happen to be the lead characters of the story happen to play a role larger than that. He has managed to show through his narrative that not only their lives are interconnected they are also independent as individuals having their own fears to deal with.

This makes the characters more connectable and ensures that by the end of the book the reader feels as if he has been made privy to a very deep secret of a family friend. You feel as if they all have grown up before your eyes, you know them in and out with every minutest detail about them out before you. They come across as strong and yet vulnerable at the same time. And that is the beauty of the writing of the author.

I enjoyed the deep and sensitive portrayal he has given to many things through this book without letting his own views over rule his writing. It is pure depiction with facts laid bare for the reader to judge and conclude.

The only dampener were the few typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, which could have been avoided with another round of editing. These things would have made this book flawless completely. Nevertheless the beauty of the plot is something that makes you forget any mistakes in the book.

A perfectly recommended read to one and all to understand human relationships better. 

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Moong Dal Vadas- Crispy, crunchy and something that sets your mouth on fire with its tantalizing taste. 



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