What makes a dutiful daughter, wife, and mother? What makes a good Indian woman? Devi returns to Madras with an American degree, only to be sucked in by the old order of things-a demanding mother's love, a suitable but hollow marriage, an unsuitable lover who offers a brief escape. But the women of the hoary past come back to claim Devi through myth and story, music and memory. They show her what it is to stay and endure what it is to break free and move on. Sita has been the ideal daughter-in-law, wife and mother. But now that she has arranged a marriage for her daughter she has to come to terms with an old dream of her own. Mayamma knows how to survive as the old family retainer, bending the way the wind blows. But, through Devi, she too can see a different life. A subtle and tender tale of women's lives in India, this award-winning novel is structured with the delicacy and precision of a piece of music. Fusing myth, tale and the real voices of different women, The Thousand Faces of Night brings alive the underworld of Indian women's lives.