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Updated: November 15, 2011 18:55 IST

Finding relief in fiction

NIKHIL VARMA
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C.Y.Gopinath with his book
C.Y.Gopinath with his book "The Book of Answers"

The Book of Answers, C.Y. Gopinath's first novel, addresses corruption that ails the Indian polity

C.Y. Gopinath, a journalist and writer, says that his latest novel “The Book of Answers” is a spoof on politics and corruption. “It took me three years to write the book. It is my first attempt at fiction. It is the story of an Indian man who inherits a locked metal-bound book with the answers to all the world's pressing problems: wars, inequities, suffering, corruption etc. He sells the book to a junk store and the locked book turns into a deadly weapon in the hands of a corrupt politician and a godman, who manage to take over the country.”

He adds, “The book is used by the politicians to create many Orwellian legislations, which in turn makes room for corruption and legalises crime. Patro, the protagonist of the tale, is also targeted by the new order and is forced to submit to these legislations.” The book is an attempt to show that corruption exists at all levels and cannot be compartmentalised as involving monetary transfers alone.”

Gopinath started writing when he was only 12 years old. In a career in journalism spanning two decades, most of his writing was confined to stories for publications. “This is my first work of fiction. Though corruption plays a very important role in the narrative, the book has not been inspired by the recent anti-corruption movement. The book was in the making for over three years. The same goes for the Arab Spring, which effected massive changes and resulted in the execution of a leader who used a book to govern his people for 42 years.”

He has been influenced by the works of writers such as Vladimir Nabakov, John Le Carre and Gerald Durell. He adds, “The dictator in my novel is inspired to some extent by Orwell's characters. This book talks about the government making an attempt to influence all aspects of the life of a citizen.”

Gopinath contends that though the book is a work of fiction, some of the incidents are mildly autobiographical and are based on incidents from his life. “In any book, your interaction with people and institutions do make an impact.” “The Book of Answers” is priced at Rs. 499 and is available at bookstores across the country.

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