The Better Man
By Anita Nair
(Picador, Hardcover, 9780312253110, 288pp.)
Publication Date: June 2000
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A magical, inventive novel about one man's struggle to find his place in the small Indian village of his birth
In Anita Nair's warm and imaginative first novel, middle-aged Acuthan Nair returns home to restore his childhood house and to confront old ghosts. When he begins the project, he hires the town painter, One-Screw-Loose Bhasi, to oversee the renovation, and the two men quickly develop a close friendship. Bhasi, who has a special talent for healing the wounded, helps Acuthan come to terms with his mother's violent death and teaches him how to stand up to his overbearing, manipulative father. But when members of the town elite tempt Acuthan with a chance at gaining the status he's always craved, his loyalty to Bhasi is tested. The Better Man is a playful and moving account of the redemptive power of friendship.
Anita Nair was born in India and spent a portion of her adult life in the United States before returning to her native country. This is her first novel.