A story full of atmosphere as Desai brings to life the total disintegration of society and the despair of the Kalimpong residents. The language matches the splendour of the scenery but still manages to convey the small and significant tragedies of everyday life. Overall, not an optimistic read – but for those looking for a glimmer of humour – you’ll find it in the descriptions of Biju’s life in New York.
The incidents of horror grew, through the changing of the seasons, through winter and the flowery spring, summer, then rain and winter again. Roads were closed, there was curfew every night, and Kalimpong was trapped in its own madness. You couldn't leave the hillsides; nobody even left their houses if they could help it but stayed locked in and barricaded.
If you were a Nepali reluctant to join in, it was bad. The Metal-Box watchman had been beaten, forced to repeat 'Jai Gorkha', and dragged to Mahakala Temple to swear an oath of loyalty to the cause.
If you weren't Nepali it was worse.