Set in a visa office in the States it takes just one incident (an earthquake) and how nine
people put together in an enclosed space for over 36 hours survive by their sheer wit.
It opens with Uma a very Westernized Indian girl waiting for her visa application number to be called and impatient about it. We have different characters, different races all wanting to go to India and we wonder what the idea behind the whole visit is. The book keeps you going from page to page as everyone is different, everyone is not what they seem to be and each one's story is better than the next.
Uma comes up with the idea of each one telling a story. Just something from their lives which would interest the others because until they are rescued there is no entertainment, no electricity, the room is getting slowly flooded and no one knows when and if they will be rescued.
The stories are so human, so intriguing that you want to know what Uma says, what Lily says, what is Mr. Pritchett actually like and why does Mrs Pritchett who seems so amenable flare up so angrily, why is Tariq so violent, is he actually a terrorist or are we racially profiling once again. The book is so very good taking us from the present into the past, that I cannot recommend it enough. I have read a few of her books but I did not know that she has written fourteen of them so definitely a visit to the library to check out her other books is a must.
This is also one of my reads towards the South Asian Challenge 2011 conducted by S. Krishna.