Seeing the world through the eyes of 8 year old Laila took me back to the security of childhood. As the story unfolds, tensions between modernisation and the traditional culture of a rural Pakistani community make themselves known. No family is impervious to suffering, and Rani's sad fate will change Laila for ever.
Laila watched, bemused by her abrupt change of mood. Rani was happy, wasn't she? She laughed and played with them. They went on picnics together and stole raw mangoes and sang, with Rani beating the back of a spoon on an old biscuit tin to keep time. So what did she mean about tasting real happiness? The question nagged at Laila, but she was reluctant to voice it. She felt as if Rani had suddenly taken a flying leap across a deep, wide chasm. She had cleared to the other side, leaving Laila behind, alone and confused.