By: Leslie Forbes
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Year published: 1998
Date read: September 2005, July 2013
Summary: Roz Benegal, a feisty young BBC researcher, goes to India to pick up the threads of her life there (she spent part of her childhood growing up in Kerala). She goes to Bombay to visit her sister Miranda, who is married to a prominent Bollywood film director, Prosper. Roz arrives to news headlines announcing the deaths of eight eunuchs in four months and to rumors that her sister's husband may have murdered her first wife Maya, a film star past her prime. Not satisfied to leave the investigations of these allegations to the Indian police, Roz Benegal begins a dangerous search for the truth. Interwoven with this utterly gripping detective story is a remarkable layering of knoweldge gleaned from old books on storms, the monsoons, poisons and magical transformations, the narrator's fascination with chaos theory and her passionate interest in fate.
I had the hardest time getting into this book at first and I can see why other people didn't like it. I tried for the first couple of chapters and then eventually put it back on my bookshelf, deciding that I would either come back to it later or forget about it all together. For about a year that book sat there - I picked it up a couple of times over that time, read the back, looked at the cover, but never opened it again.
A few years later, when we were evacuating for Hurricane Rita, I sent one of my nieces to the shelf and asked her to grab me a book. In typical fashion for this one, she grabbed me four and, instead of arguing with her, I just stuck them in my bag. I am so glad that I did because, during our 36 hour trip to a location that, under normal circumstances, would have only taken 2 hours, I had plenty of time to read. I picked it back up at one point during our drive - when my sister was driving and my nieces were sleeping - and began again at the beginning.
This time I really got into it and it only took a couple of hours to make it through the whole book. I'm glad I took that break and I'm glad that she picked it up and handed it to me. It is now one of my favorite books.
One of the best parts about this book is the description of the slums - amazing. Plus you really get caught up in the mystery and drama of the whole thing.