Monday February 27, 2017

Mayank Bhatt on writing a novel about terrorism and family trauma

In Mayank Bhatt's debut novel, a Muslim family discovers that their son is involved in a plan to bomb public places in Toronto.

In Mayank Bhatt's debut novel, a Muslim family discovers that their son is involved in a plan to bomb public places in Toronto.

Listen 3:07

In Mayank Bhatt's debut novel, Belief, an upright and modest Muslim family discovers that their son is involved in a plan to bomb public places in Toronto. Eventually it's revealed that the son has rejected the plan, but still has to explain the details discovered on his computer. The family is traumatized as they try to understand what happened to their son and move forward together. 

Immigration inspiration

The story came to me after I immigrated with my wife and son from India in 2008. English was not a problem for us but we didn't have Canadian experience, so I was working as a security guard. It was during my night shift that I began to imagine how this would be for a person who immigrated 10 or 15 years ago. What happens to that person if he or she is not able to adjust? What happens to their children? 

Family matters

I don't want to necessarily compartmentalise or categorise my book as one that deals with Muslim terrorism. What I have tried to do is help understand the situation that a family goes through when something like this happens. My son could be a drug addict and I would go through a similar trauma.

Mayank Bhatt's comments have been edited and condensed.