In his debut novel, A Dowryless Wedding, Merlin Franco takes a humorous crack at the issue of dowry, and the untold dimension of distress faced by a young man with progressive ideologies, who refuses to accept dowry. Set in rural Tamil Nadu, the book follows the travails of the protagonist Franklin, or Pranklin and even Pranklee as he is called because his ‘beloved Tamil language lacked a sonic equivalent of the ‘f’ sound’. While Franklin chooses to defy societal norms, he falls in love with his childlike bride Nisha, who is under her overbearing father’s thumb. Nisha casts her spell on Franklin’s family, and soon Pranklee is alone, cornered by religious, political and societal narratives.
A Dowryless Wedding charms the reader with its ready wit and fresh approach to the age-old practice of dowry chronicled against the backdrop of a utopian dream.