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Don't Let Him Know

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  759 ratings  ·  140 reviews
In a boxy apartment building in an Illinois university town, Romola Mitra, a newly arrived young bride, anxiously awaits her first letter from home in India. When she accidentally opens the wrong letter, it changes her life. Decades later, her son Amit finds that letter and thinks he has discovered his mother's secret. But secrets have their own secrets sometimes.

Amit does
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  759 ratings  ·  140 reviews

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Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Sometimes, the biggest secrets you can only tell a stranger.”
----Michelle Hodkin American author/theater-actress

Sandip Roy is Senior Editor at the popular news portal and an Indian author, pens a gripping debut called, Don't Let Him Know which the author have cleverly portrayed a collection of short stories as a novel by interweaving each of his stories. This book revolves around a family where each of them has their own secret to uphold and lies to rule their life. Weaved between two
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an interesting novel. The setting of this novel is in the US and India. The story of Amit and his mother unfolds in both these places. Amit is gay. He finds it hard to break free from his family. It is difficult for him to come to terms with sexuality. Being in the US gives him the freedom to be free, but the pull of family and home is too strong to ignore. His is an educated middle-class family, and yet he feels torn between who he is and what is expected of him. What is also most ...more
Renita D'Silva
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book! Stunning writing! Emotional, poignant, each story so absolutely perfect. Loved it!
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It makes me smile in wonder that an unconventional story about a closeted gay Indian man, his wife and son begins and ends in Carbondale, a small southern Illinois university town where my daughter went to college. I believe I read that the author attended college there; small world. This may be the only time that SIU-Carbondale was the site of a novel, and an Indian novel, at that.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
Read in August 2015

Twelve interconnected stories, zigzagging adroitly back and forth over three generations and across two continents. Varied settings - a shabby apartment in a university town, a McDonald's drive-thru, a deserted suburban park, a hair saloon. Formative experiences, guilty secrets and startling discoveries. Characters handled with tenderness - allowed their share of pettiness, but also their indulgences and limited freedoms.

An exceedingly assured debut that everyone could do
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roy's debut novel, subtitled 'A novel in stories' is just that. Twelve discreet stories about the Mitra family of Calcutta, and later California, that together form an indelible portrait of one family's struggles and secrets. Told in non-chronological fashion, which I initially found a bit odd, these are beautifully written stories, each a small gem. Can't wait to read more of Roy's writing. And wish they'd make a film version, with the inimitable Kirron Kher playing Romola!
Abeer Hoque
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Don’t Let Him Know is Sandip Roy’s debut novel in stories. Each chapter stands on its own, but they come together in a tour de force of this structure to tell a story of three generations, reaching from old Calcutta to chilly Carbondale to sunny California.

She watched a lonely matchstick of a fry sitting in a smear of ketchup.

The three main characters are Avinash, a closeted gay Calcuttan, his sharp and dreaming wife Romola, and their son Amit. Each is nuanced and real, leaping off the page
Celeste Ng
In DON'T LET HIM KNOW, Sandip Roy finds the hidden pockets within ordinary moments--a visit to McDonalds, a boy's first haircut, a trip to the store for chutney ingredients--and deftly turns them out to reveal the secrets the Mitras have concealed for years. The result is a moving portrait of the loves and longings of a family split: between India and America, between past and present, and between duty and dreams.
Subhashis Chowdhury
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I am familiar with Sandip Roy’s columns as I’m a frequent reader of FirstPost, the web based daily newspaper. However, even though his name was familiar, I had no idea that the author of “Don’t Let Him Know” is the same Sandip Roy as the columnist of FirstPost. I became curious, when I came across one of those lists in some magazine or the other (I think it was Open) mentioning this book as one of the “most awaited books of the year”. The plot outline mentioned in the same magazine suggested a ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a copy of 'Don't Let Him Know' appeared in my porch, quite unexpectedly, a few weeks ago, my first instinct was to put it to one side, thinking that it wasn't my kind of book. Curiosity though made me look at the book and I realised that it might be my kind of book after all, and that there was more than enough that was universal and timeless about the story for me to be happy to step into settings and periods that I rarely visit.

This is the story of a family, about the things that go
Milan Vohra
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'd give the book a 3.5 rating if that was possible. Only because somehow the writing style wasn't as finessed as it could have been and my 4* rating usually goes to something that has that extraordinary effect on me. Either in content or the way the narrative is constructed. This book has a concept that I did love. I also enjoyed the non linear construct. The chapters all read as stand alone stories and that worked well too, the way they all added up... each feeling like another layer you were ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Interconnected short stories that revolve around Avinash Mitra and his extended family. Each story is quietly told and revolve around secret and/or illicit acts that change each character forever but are often never expressed aloud. The first story begins with Avinash's young bride, newly arrived and off balance in the US, realizing that her new husband had, at one time, a male lover. Drama doesn't run high in this one, but stakes are keenly felt.
Pooja T
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed these connected (sorta) short stories. Liked most these brief but intense looks into the lives of these characters. Well-written and a very engaging read. Went into this thinking its a novel but this is most certainly a collection of short stories.
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautiful novel told with well-crafted interconnected short stories. Highly recommended.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is one of the more emotionally devastating novels I've read. Though told in the third person, with chapters about her husband and son, this is clearly Romola's story. A Bengali woman born and raised in India, she accompanies her husband Avinash to a college town in the United States, where she has difficulty adjusting to the American way of life and accidentally stumbles onto her husband's secret. They return to India after Avinash finishes his education, have their son Amit (who eventually ...more
Joseph Schreiber
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A more "conventional" read for me, perhaps, I thoroughly enjoyed this bittersweet tale about the secrets we keep. Set in Calcutta and California, this is the kind of LGBTQ story that resonates even if my own experience is very different. A queer life dominated by a need to hide and a failure to find release and connection the way one longs for is not simply a story of the past.
And expanded review can be found here:
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful surprise of a book. This was such a wonderful collection of stories all interwoven with one another about a culture I realized I know little to nothing about. It was honest and beautifully told. Not ridiculously complex but simple. And I liked it. I want to adapt it into a play -- I think it would be beautiful on the stage. Fascinating and good. Well done.
Shreya Vaid
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The paper was almost translucent with age, but the handwriting was still clear, the ink Royal Blue. She recognized it with a jolt, even though it had been almost four decades. - Romola, Don't Let Him Know

Since most of its initial chapters were published as a stand alone, Don't Let Him Know by Sandip Roy stands out as a collection of short stories embedded in a classic manner into a whole novel. The story is divided among two generations of a family, Romola, and Avinash and their only son, Amit.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. The book stats with lots of promise. A young woman in India has an arranged marriage to a man that she soon finds out to have had a gay lover. They move to America, have indifferent sex, and move back to India. There is no exploration of what it means or what it looks like to be in a marriage with a secret. The book moves back and forth in time. At one point, after many years of marriage we learn that before marriage she had dated a man who later became a major Bollywood star. He ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful novel, beautifully written. Roy’s story is about relationships in a family where each member has a secret - a husband and father who is gay; a wife and mother who left her true love behind, and so on. Even where they find out the others’ secrets, and even when it hurts, they are kind to each other. He explores all the complexities and contradictions in the ways that people love each other. I found this story so gently, delicately and beautifully told. One that really lifts the ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This book is a real pleasure to read. Told as twelve short stories that jump around in time and location (several generations of a family in both India and America), it builds into a delicate picture of a family where everyone has secrets. What you finish the book with is a feeling that you have got to know this family, probably better than it knows itself because you know some of the things they haven't told one another. And, because you know more than the members of the family let on to each ...more
Don't Let Him Know is a story of a family in which the father is a closeted gay man. His wife knows, but does nothing about it. Or, let's phrase it this way, she doesn't know enough to know what to do about it. So, she does nothing and continues to live with him, bearing him a child. The novel involves a number of vignettes in which secrets are revealed - to the reader - precious little seems to be communicated within the family itself.

I liked the story well enough, but I liked the structure of
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
this had so much potential, it started out excellent. i think when you start reading this you think of it as a novel, but it's basically short stories, just vignettes of the lives of people within the same family. it's too disjointed, and it ends way too abruptly. there's so much more to these characters, and i don't think the way this is structured brings them to life the best.

that being said, i enjoyed lots of little things about the immigrant-indian experience. bits that hit a little close to
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really liked the way this book was organized, with each chapter telling a different piece of the lives of a woman, here husband, and their son. The stories spanned many years and countries and jumped back and forth in time, but it was never hard to follow, and I was interested in all the characters. The description makes it sound like this is a book about a woman who finds out her husband is gay, but that's such a small part of the story. It's where the story begins, but really this is a book ...more
Poulomi Das
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Don't Let Him Know by Sandip Roy is beautiful. There's no other way to put it. I only wish I'd read it earlier. Roy brings out the angst of two generations and three individuals of a family sensitively and leaves you with a book that is gripping and unforgettable.

Interestingly, all the chapters in the book work brilliantly as standalone stories as well as work overtime in ensuring the whole story is bound together.

This book is all about what one wants to do vs what one must do.

I couldn't get
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Let me first say that the editing in the Kindle edition was atrocious, which probably affected my reading of this novel. While I was intrigued by the premise of this book, I found it on the whole to be very disappointing. Stylistically, I thought the writing was weak; the stories didn't weave together into a coherent narrative; there was no plot to speak of; and probably most significantly, I didn't believe in any of the characters. The most interesting character was Avinash, and I wished the ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn’t end the way I expected. Felt a bit unfinished. Slightly disappointed.
Kumar Anshul
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rated as one of the best books of 2015, this book completely deserves to be there. From Calcutta to California, the story moves across different time zones to capture different facets of human mind, emotions and thought process as one goes through various trials and tribulations. The author is skilled at putting down the complex emotions behind ordinary moments and this is what makes this book different.
Arpit Agrawal
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Well-written but not well-edited. Some minor discrepancies in the story and repetition of text and descriptions later in the story. That apart, characters were quite real and well-constructed. The different stories of childhood, adulthood and death, although unrelated connect quite well with the main theme. Overall, very realistic fiction.
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Sandip Roy is Senior Editor at the popular news portal and blogs for the Huffington Post. He has been a longtime commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio programme in the US, and has a weekly radio postcard for public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also an editor with New America Media. Sandip has won several awards for journalism ...more