An extraordinarily moving tale of a small-town schoolteacher. The new novel from the winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel Vasu Master has recently retired from his job in a local school. Away from the familiar circumscribed world of school, principal and classroom, he begins to relive incidents from the past and discover in his own halting but imaginative way the nature of teaching, teacher and pupil. This process of self-discovery is speeded up by the arrival of Mani, who cannot— or will not— speak. Vasu Master tells the reticent child one fantastic story after the other as he faces up to the biggest challenge of his life: can he teach (or heal) Mani? Using fantasy, fable and a host of wonderfully imagined characters— and the gentle, humane and philosophic voice of Vasu Master— the author creates a richly textured and complex work that eloquently explores the human condition and the underlying principles of all human action.