A retired schoolteacher in present-day Calcutta is caught in the labyrinth of rusty bureaucracy and political crime under a communist government. Across a vast ocean of time a widow leads a life of stark suffering in a wealthy feudal household in 19th century British-ruled Bengal at a time when widow-burning has gone out of practice but widow remarriage is far from coming into vogue.
As their stories begin to connect they weave a larger narrative of historical forgetting of voices that have been pushed out of the nation's memory. And what we are left with is the intriguing tale of two cities: the same geographical space separated by decades of experience and neglect.
'This is a book to cherish for a very long time for its descriptions and evocations as well as for what it tells us about the ebb and flow of human expectation' ---Amit Chaudhuri