If this book is on your reading list, I recommend you promptly remove it. This is a meandering tale of people, families and a country, all falling apart. While this theme alone could have had much potential, in Desai's hands it turns into a meditation on hopelessness and depression. The book might be lyrical or technically well put together but it leaves the reader feeling empty and the words never take on any greater meaning or provide any greater experience than their own shabby existence on the page. The book, like its subject, never really comes to life.