On the surface, this is the archetypal rags to riches, boy meets girl story, but it is also a vividly honest morality tale and social satire. Written in the second person and historical present, the author draws 'you', the reader, into the unfolding drama, with its pretence of being a motivational 'get-rich' guide. It has the effect of being totally involving, cleverly undermining any preconceptions about the 'otherness' of a foreign culture.
Your city is enormous, home to more people than half the countries in the world, to whom every few weeks is added a population equivalent to that of a small, sandy-beached tropical island republic …. A limited access road is under construction around the place, forming a belt past which its urban belly is already beginning to bulge …. Your bus barrels along in the shadow of these monuments, dusty new arteries feeding this city, which despite its immensity is only one among many such organs quivering in the torso of rising Asia.