Set in Malaysia this spellbinding first novel introduces us to a prosperous Indian immigrant family as it slowly peels away its closely guarded secrets.When the family's servant girl Chellam is dismissed from the big house for unnamed crimes it is only the latest in a series of losses that have shaken six-year-old Aasha's life. Her grandmother has passed away under mysterious circumstances and her older sister has disappeared for a new life abroad with no plans to return. Her parents meanwhile seem to hiding something away -from themselves and from one another.As the novel tells us the story of the years leading up to these events we learn what has happened to the hopes and dreams of a family caught up in Malaysia's troubled post-colonial history. What bought the Rajashekharan family to the Big House in Malaysia? What was Chellam's unforgivable crime? Why did the eldest daughter leave the country under strained circumstances? And what is Appa - the respectable family patriarch - hiding from his wife and his children?Through this vibrant cast of characters and through a masterful evocation of the clashes and strains in a country where Malay Indian and Chinese inhabitants vie for their positions in society Preeta Samarasan brings us an enthralling saga of one household and the world beyond it.