Twenty stories of contemporary Indian life that demonstrate the range of Hariharan's writing, executed with a precision of style and magical imagery. Sometimes comic (yet tinged with sadness) as in the much-anthologized "The Remains of the Feast" where an old woman near the end of her life suddenly feels the urge to sample all the food she has been forbidden; sometimes with a twist as in "Gajar Halwa" where Chellamma, a servant girl from a small-town family, finally understands what makes a big city work; sometimes moving as in "The Reprieve", these stories never fail to surprise and delight.
"Compassionate yet ruthless in their honesty…"
"... her writing pulsates to the soft sound of an unusual life force... hitches the most unthinkable of ideas into a graceful arc of images... sunny and well-lit prose which conceals nothing, reveals everything.""
The Times of India
"…immense depth of understanding…"
"There is nothing loose about Hariharan's writing. Her sentences are controlled, all extra words shaved away. The distilled brevity is delightful, the unsaid hovers everywhere."
"Doubts and uncertainties, passion and unsuspected guile surface again and again in the stories as they set about with great courage to turn traditional conservative Indian life up on its back, revealing a surprisingly soft underbelly."
The Book Review
"Scintillating and fluid imagery…"
The Indian Express
"Hariharan writes with feeling and flexibility… She writes with ease about grief and about joy…"
"...an insatiable urge to turn a situation inside out and pin it down... Her stories drag you in right under the skin and make you squirm..."
The Illustrated Weekly of India