Do not go by the expression on the cover page. It is a controversy-filled novel alright, but has nothing much to do with sex as compared to the corporate/political mind games and implications that people probably face on an everyday basis.
I finished the book a while ago but the reason it occurred to me to write about it now is the recent re-surfacing of the Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar sexual harassment case. Now that the legal implications are against Dutta and her accusations, she seems to be turning fingers elsewhere; but let’s keep the political factors aside. The book becomes relevant because there were a few things described here that are strikingly relevant to the real world.
The one reason that tops books over movies or series is the elaboration that books offer when it comes to stream of consciousness. Visual media could try, but never level the efficiency of words in describing to perfection the flow of thought of an individual or group of people in a situation. The same victory makes Disclosure an interesting read, captivating the reader throughout with the thoughts of Tom Sanders, the protagonist. Apparently, he has to face an undue accusation of sexual harassment as a part of a major power play in his office which sets open a series of events in his life within a very short span of time. He battles them all valiantly, but the collateral damage was probably inevitable. And it is in fact more hazardous and depressing than the case itself – as any man wrongly accused of sexual harassment would agree with all his might.
Sexual harassment is a serious issue, but we can never be too confident that a woman accusing a man of it is completely honest. There are times, more often than not, when women tend to utilize sexual vulnerability as a weapon – as in the case of Disclosure. Whether or not she wins the case in such an instance is secondary, but the man facing the undue suit will have his life effectively ruined this way or that.
His family undergoes turmoil. His wife and kids cannot help but withdraw affection, unless under extreme cases where the partner is capable of unfettering faith. His friends back out because they do not want the whirlpool to drag them down along. Any female shall consider him a threat. People shall stare, point and whisper mercilessly, which is pretty much sufficient to thrust anyone into depression. Life can never be the same for him considering the kind of ‘infamous’ nature of such allegations. Winning the case might be easy or hard, but battling this set of uncalled circumstances is definitely one of the hardest challenges one can ever face. The book very beautifully puts forth the plight of such men who must undergo false accusations of sexual harassment for corporate or political reasons, and it connects to a reader – no matter who it is.
We never realised when sex turned into a tool to victimize or character assassinate another individual. What is otherwise categorized under the pleasant experiences of life is increasingly inclining towards the other side, in a number of ways including allegations, harassment and rape. I picked up the book assuming the experience of it would be close to the former part of the previous statement, but turned out the latter. Well.