This book is about an intense, but too brief friendship between two small boys - one Mauritian, the other a European Jew - who don't even share a common language. 60 years on, a failing Raj looks back over the events of that troubled time, and you will find yourself raging against the iniquities piled upon both boys, while admiring their courage. A harsh story, but the beauty of the writing raises it to an altogether higher plane.
Even today, although it makes me laugh a little, I can recall the sudden fear, like an electric shock, that made me utter a cry and leap up. Crouched and hunched up as I had been, I was incapable of breaking into a run, even though everything within me was straining to get away. No, for the first time in my life I got my feet in a tangle, and I, the king of the lightning-swift departure, fell over backwards. And, as I lay there on the ground, my heart thumping fit to burst, what I saw behind me was a boy with fair hair. That wretched David in fits of laughter.