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15 Oct 2019, 22:41 HRS IST
  • PTI
    • Bookworm
  • News article related to India gave Filipina author idea of debut novel
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  • By Zafri Mudasser Nofil
  • A

    t 40, Joanne Ramos was looking for her debut novel a compelling story that could hold her ideas and allow them to flourish until she read about a surrogacy facility in India and her book began to take root.

    The Philippines-born Joanne Ramos has just come out with "The Farm", which is about race, class, family and power, as she is being heralded as the new age Margaret Atwood.

    The book, published by Bloomsbury India, talks of an ambitious businesswoman named Mae Yu who runs Golden Oaks, a luxury retreat transforming the fertility industry, where women get the very best of everything, so long as they play by the rules.

    Jane is a young immigrant in search of a better future. Stuck living in a cramped dorm with her baby daughter and her shrewd aunt Ate, she sees an unmissable chance to change her life but at what cost.

    "The Farm" explores the role of luck and merit, class, ambition and sacrifice and is a story about how we live and who truly holds power.

    When Ramos started writing "The Farm", the themes she wanted to tackle were already apparent to her - ideas that had consumed her for decades, rooted in her experiences, and the people she’d come to know, as a Filipina immigrant in Wisconsin, a financial-aid student at Princeton University, a woman in the male-dominated world of high finance, and a mother of three in the era of intensive "helicopter" parenting.

    "The challenge was to find a compelling story that could hold all these different ideas and allow them to flourish. I wasn’t interested in writing a screed but in telling a good story that made readers think," she says.

    Then, about a year and a half into her daily routine of writing while her children were in school, she read a short article in the Wall Street Journal about a surrogacy facility in India.

    "The what-ifs began pouring onto the page: What if I moved the surrogacy facility to America? What if I made it a luxury one that catered to the richest people in the world? What would people like that want? The book began to take root," Ramos told PTI.

    She is fla

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