Being interested in India and having traveled there twice recently, I stalked up on all sorts of books dealing with the country. This is one of them. I started this one and immediately kept reading with great interest, as his story-line unfolded flawlessly.
I feel ashamed to admit it, but I am not familiar with Indian mythology and specifically with the Mahabharata, so I cannot comment as others did on how well he melded that epic tale with the modern, historical figures. But even without knowing how that one aspect fell into play within the whole story, I thought the work was absolutely brilliant. His satire on characters from recent Indian history is hysterical. If you have any knowledge about who Ghandi or Indira were, you will obviously spot WHO he is talking about, even though the real names are never used.
Finally, Tharoor's grasp and usage of English is awsome. I enjoyed the way he delivers passages full of sentiment and emotion, yet with witty, tongue-in-check narration. Plus, he wrote many, many inspiring passages that were so aptly phrased--simply the thoughts of a geneous--that I was inspired to highlight them with a neon pen. Truly excellent ideas put on paper!
The reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I felt it ended rather abruptly or hurried, and it needed, in my opinion, a little more historical/politcal plot to finally bring it all together without a sense of being rushed at the end. (Maybe it's only me who feels this way.)
So, even if you don't know the Mahabharata or much of Indian history/politics, this book will keep your interest and whet your appetite to read even more on the fascinating country.