“POWER IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE. “
Disclosure is a novel by Michael Crichton (yep, Jurassic Park fame) written on the year 1993.This book about sexual harassment in corporate companies. Normally, anybody will think that this would be a story of a girl being harassed by her Boss. But, it is not so. It is just the opposite in this novel.
This book is about Tom Sanders, who is a very able and upcoming executive. When he comes to office one day, expecting to get his much expected promotion as the Vice-President of the company after more than a decade of honest work, he is shocked to find out the promotion to have been given to his ex-girlfriend, who’s under the protective wing of Bob Garvin (who is the Chairman), and who’s not as talented as he is.
What happens next is that his ex-girlfriend, Meredith Johnson calls him out for an official meeting at 6’o clock in the evening, at the very first day itself. When he goes to see her, she expertly seduces Sanders .Being unwilling and scrupulous, Sanders decides not to try this, halfway through the foreplay. This makes Meredith mad and she swears to kill him and attacks him. Sanders gets out and goes home.
But, when he comes to a meeting the next day, he is stunned to hear that Meredith has complained about sexual harassment by Sanders. When Sanders tries to make clear of what actually happened, no one even cares to hear his version. Everybody laughs at him when he tries to say it is he who was harassed. Strangled by an unsupportive management, which is ready to pound on him and by stranded by a suspicious wife, he is unsure of what to do.
After going through a session with the Philip Blackburn, the chief legal counsel, he finds out that nobody is ready to hear his version and the management is taking up the side of Meredith. Now, on the face of a merger with another company and at the brink of his company going public (which meant big money through cheap shares being given by company), he finds himself to be transferred to another, entirely new department. Thus, being not given his promotion and being stripped of his profit, added to the fact that Garvin has a blind-spot for Meredith, makes Sanders enraged. He rightfully calculates the effect of negative publicity to the company on the face of the merger, and decides to sue the company.
When he meets up with a lawyer, Louise Fernandez, she dismisses his case at first, saying it has no witness. She says to him that a man’s word against a female’s, in case of a sexual harassment, as being easily neglected and will never work out. But, she agrees to help him after hearing the full story. He consoles him by saying that even if they could not get justice through sexual harassment; they’ll win on grounds of impartial treatment of sexes when it comes to suing the company.
Garvin comes to know Sanders is going to file publicly a case the next day and being aware that this is eventually going to end up ruining the merger, he wishes to mediate using a reliable judge. But, Sanders has his own problems. A public suit against his company means expenses till the end of the case (3 years) and that too without a job after such a bad publicity. His only real chance is to make the company buckle up before the merger, which is just a couple of days ahead. But, as things go on, he finds that there is a cynical and manipulative scheme to bring him down by defaming him. What was the scheme devised by Meredith to defame him? Was sanders able to get his promotion? And did the merger happen?
Well, this book has everything. A subdued hero who decides to strike back; a vicious and manipulative villain; an elusive trial; an unknown friend who steps in to help Sanders and to direct him whenever he strays out of the path, through email (believe me, this unknown friend when unravelled came as a surprise to me) and a series of bombshell filled events (especially the plan itself) leading to the climax. There was one doubt that was nagging me from the start of events. Why would an attractive girl try to seduce her ex-boyfriend at the very first day itself, though she screws around often with her sub-ordinates? Believe me, you would not have thought of an explanation as given at the end. It all made sense at the last. And the climax is nothing short of EXPLOSIVE. You might think what could be pretty explosive in a perfectly guessable climax. Let me tell you again amigo, the climax is really unpredictable.
Michael Crichton pulls up a very good thriller which will not let you rest till you finish the last page(had me awake till 3 in the morning!) .Opposed to the popular belief that Crichton’s novels are a little slow, this book is very fast paced. This is not the usual Michael Crichton novel where an experiment goes awry. This novel deals with a vivid problem faced by a very common man, being very realistic and down to earth.
And did I tell you about this book being unputdownable? After being through 150 pages, I thought Crichton has tried up for a new genre of thriller. After completing 250 pages, I realised it to be a great novel and upon finishing it, I realised it is one of his best. Crichton outdid himself in this novel. Whether this is his best , can only be told after I finish his Jurassic Park novel. A very recommended book if you want to study a thriller (an unconventional one), which will make you stay up and lose a night’s sleep.