Ron D Smith is the author of The Savior of Turk and The Night Budda Got Deep in It, both novels. He is also the author of The Storm before the Calm: The Early Lives of Venus and Hiro. He grew up in smalltown Missouri, and he now lives in Louisville with his wife and two daughters.
The Savior of Turkby Ron D Smith
Bhanu Ganesh can’t catch a break. He comes from India with his parents to start a new life in rural Missouri where, as his American-born cousin says, a person “stands out like a vegan at a rib joint if he’s anything other than white boy or a black cow.” Bhanu arrives with everything short of a “kick me” sign on his back. His prep
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Bhanu Ganesh can’t catch a break. He comes from India with his parents to start a new life in rural Missouri where, as his American-born cousin says, a person “stands out like a vegan at a rib joint if he’s anything other than white boy or a black cow.” Bhanu arrives with everything short of a “kick me” sign on his back. His prep school getup, highbrow British accent, and pathological fear of feminine touch make him an immediate social outcast. Then there’s his little arson habit, the primary reason his family is making a fresh start in America. What’s more, the new family business in the tiny town of Turk is selling adult movies and other products at a store along the interstate. That doesn’t sit well with some of the locals, particularly those at the Turk Everlasting Church of God.
The three people who think they know Bhanu best describe Bhanu’s time in Turk. Bhanu’s cousin, Danny Ganesh, is in the best position to help Bhanu navigate his new world, but Danny is wrapped up in his own interests. He often visits Turk, ostensibly to work for his uncle making late-night home deliveries to the store’s growing list of local customers. But Danny has hundreds of other reasons for regularly visiting Turk, which are thriving in a secret plot west of town.
Nap Rayburn, the dying old man who lives next door to the Ganesh family, is the one person in Bhanu’s life who accepts him just as he is. He sees right away that Bhanu needs all the friends he can get. However, Nap’s wife, Polly, is fighting the store with all her energy because of what it’s doing to her town, and she doesn’t like her husband associating with the “son of a pornographer”.
Cassie Gypsum, who lives around the corner from Bhanu, is the one pretty girl Bhanu can almost be himself around, but she’s the daughter of Cullen Gypsum, a reformed miscreant, who gave up his hell raising ways to take over preaching at the Turk Everlasting Church of God. That makes him the video store’s biggest opponent. Facing the town’s doubts that he is completely rehabilitated, Cullen sees his fight against the porn store as his best chance to prove them wrong. He just needs to make a bold statement against the store, which he thinks he's found by erecting a “Jesus tower” on the other side of the interstate. But the fight against the store brings out his own demons, and Cassie believes only Bhanu can solve his problems.
No one really understands Bhanu, however, and they fail to predict what he will do.
- Ron D Smith
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