The Boy Who Made God Smile is the story of a family in crisis set against the background of India’s ‘God-Business’.
Many of the principal scenes take place in and around the fairy-tale ashram of the controversial avatar, Sai Baba. The story concerns three generations of an international silk family so we weave between the Rag Market and the Fancy Silk Store of Birmingham, the Emporium and the Indian Coffee House in Mahatma Gandhi Road in Bangalore. We visit villages, holy rivers and an improbable hospital.
A family is fractured and troubled. The grandfather is terminally ill and it is not a convenient time to die. His business practices are convoluted and corrupt. He seeks to bribe God to buy his way out of Heaven.
His son, whilst born in Bangalore, has spent most of his adult life in England. He has no intention of returning to India and finds its rituals baffling.
The central character is the son, Hari. He champions a beggar girl called Lunasha, is befriended by a film-maker called Jack, learns much from the 121-year-old Borg and the Doctor, a lifelong friend of Baba. Jean Paul is his spiritual guide and Maddy his earthly mentor. In his confusion Hari asks the most important questions in the book. Few are answered.