Release Date: October 12, 2021
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Heir to his father’s Mumbai business empire, Ved Mehra has money, looks, and status. He is also living as a closeted gay man. Thirty-eight, lonely, still reeling from a breakup, and under pressure from his exasperated mother, Ved agrees to an arranged marriage. He regrettably now faces a doomed future with the perfectly lovely Disha Kapoor.
Then Ved’s world is turned upside down when he meets Carlos Silva, an American on a business trip in India.
As preparations for his wedding get into full swing, Ved finds himself drawn into a relationship he could never have imagined—and ready to take a bold step. Ved is ready to embrace who he is and declare his true feelings regardless of family expectations and staunch traditions. But with his engagement party just days away, and with so much at risk, Ved will have to fight for what he wants—if it’s not too late to get it.
Set around the time in 2018 when Section 377 of the Indian penal code (which was frequently used to criminalize sexual activity between men) was deemed unconstitutional, The Other Man tells of a closeted gay man torn between doing what he thinks his parents expect and what he’s too afraid to want.
The story is told both in first person POV and through texts between Ved and Carlos, Disha, and his mother, with countdowns to big events in Ved’s life. The scenes where Ved fakes his relationship with Disha start to feel repetitive as the story goes on, mostly because we can see progress in his relationship with Carlos but everything with Disha just seems to rehash the same feelings and thoughts. I could’ve used more depth with Ved’s interactions with his ex-boyfriend, as well; he appears more as a plot device than a real person. I also wish we got to see into Carlos’ mind a bit. I’d love to know what it was like to be in India as an openly queer Latino.
The Other Man is a nice, sweet romance with a setting and characters I hadn’t read before. It’s engagingly written and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy. It’s a bit heftier, emotionally, than what the fun, illustrated cover would imply, but it’s not too heavy either. Overall I enjoyed it.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.
Buy it at bookshop.org (affiliate link).