Author: Anita Desai
Translator(s)/Editor: Surjeet Sarna
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8126006218
Nanda Kaul is old. Long ago, she queened it as Vice Chancellor's wife. Now she lives alone in her villa in the Simla hills, looking across to the snows of the distant Himalayas, down to the hot, dusty plain below. She treasures her solitude, free at last from the claims and demands of family, servants, position. But to interrupt her summer peace comes Raka, her great grand daughter, a strange, isolated child whose own wish for solitude is as intense as the old woman's.
Yet to lead their separate lives under one roof, to exist and yet appear not to exist, is not so easy. Through the long summer months hidden dependencies and possessive needs emerge, old wounds are uncovered. There is a feeling of impending tragedy, as real as the ever present threat of forest fire in the hillsides surrounding the villa.
From its deceptively gentle opening to its violent end, this novel paint a wonderfully observed picture of Indian life, and an unforgettable portrait of old age.