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After decades Romola comes back to the US to stay with her son and his family. Her son Amit discovers an old love letter that he believes was addressed to her. Romola is stunned when Amit hands it to her – she had meant to destroy it. Now, a widow in her sixties, what should she confess to her son?
‘Don’t Let Him Know’ is a brilliant narrative of secrets that couples keep from each other, parents keep from their children and things that children don’t tell their parents. Just as disclosure helps a marriage, so can many untold secrets keep a family together. It is not romantic love that makes a successful marriage,but commitment and duty to the family and the social fabric, at least in the Indian set-up.
Romola is wonderfully etched – as a young girl who fancies a boy who takes on the screen name suggested by her when he becomes a movie star, as a wife who keeps a firm grip on running her household and saving her marriage, as a self respecting widow who does not want to impose upon her son, and as an older woman who seeks her own independent happiness in the US.
The book moves seamlessly from India to the US, yet Kolkata and the life there form the backbone of the story.From the characters of Amit’s family, the small strifes between them and the love that binds all families to the feisty great grandmother and her obsession with food, and the angst of the closet gay – there is much to love in this novel.
The novel has strong characters except for Avinash, Romola’s husband; the reader does not quite get a glimpse into his inner world.The Sumit episode in the book would have been stronger if there was something of Avinash in it.
Reading this book was an absolute delight…and Sandip Roy has been brilliant at writing it!