The Globe and Mail Newspaper – October 25, 2006 – Daaku Review

Daaku Review

November 25, 2006

By Margaret Cannon – The Globe and Mail

“Daaku” is Punjabi for “outlaw.” The daaku in this novel by Surrey, B.C., author Ranj Dhaliwal, is Rupinder Singh Pandher, Ruby for short. Ruby is a vicious thug, and Dhaliwal manages to make him credible.

This is an excellent novel about Indo-Canadian gangs. Those of you who thought all South Asian kids are just swotting the books to get into medical school should read this one.

Ruby is the narrator of his own story, which begins with his childhood in Burnaby. He’s as Canadian as a hockey puck, but his life is a long way from maple sugar. Dhaliwal minces no words. Wives are beaten and terrorized. Children are treated like slaves. They also love their parents and want to please them. This isn’t the ordinary life of a first-generation immigrant — at least I hope it’s not — but it has the ring of truth. It’s a perfect template of how to raise a cruel and conscienceless criminal.

[…] Daaku is a scary peek into a subculture about which we know nothing, a tour of Vancouver suburbs as alien as Mars, and Dhaliwal makes it as believable as your own back yard.