Little David and His Goliaths
by Jerry Reynolds
Gotham Books

"I am now leaving the comfort of my home to some unknown, distant place. Please guide my steps so that I may find the right path to a better life."

This Catholic bildungsroman centers on a young man named Kochu Daveed (Little David) as he navigates life's many challenges. Due to his father's alcoholism and various spendthrift relatives, Kochu Daveed becomes the main earner for his family as a teenager. His work and training take him across India and introduce him to new people of myriad faiths and backgrounds. Kochu Daveed's eagerness to learn teaches him about other religions and creeds. Rather than challenge his devotion to the Christian God, this knowledge of alternate ways of living only strengthens his faith. His fortunes change many times over the course of his life, and his trust in God must withstand such hardships as homelessness, deaths in the family, a wife's emotional affair, lost inheritances, and dramatic health problems. However, Kochu Daveed perseveres throughout the novel, and his sense of duty to his family as well as to God helps him through his many trials.

Kochu Daveed's world teems with interesting and colorful characters and places. The narrative gives detailed backgrounds for major characters in Kochu Daveed's family in a manner reminiscent of writers such as Thomas Hardy or the Brontë sisters. In fact, Kochu Daveed's wife Theresa, an avid reader of English Romantic literature, lives a life quite similar to the heroines she admires. The novel treats all its characters with compassion: Theresa's thwarted affair or some brothers-in-law's inheritance snatching come across as understandable despite their immorality. Kochu Daveed's religious questions and doubts fuel important discussions throughout the text that educate him and readers without ever feeling didactic. Readers of all faiths and backgrounds will find something relatable and enjoyable in this universal tale of life's ups and downs.

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