Finding relief in fiction

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

November 14, 2011 07:34 pm | Updated November 15, 2011 06:55 pm IST

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

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

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.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.