I read this book over a long time because of frequent interruptions - life is like that sometimes. However, I kept going back and eagerly picking up where I left off.
The story is beautifully crafted hardly ever loses momentum but often mesmerizes with rich passages of flashback, dream-sequence and internal visualisations of the protagonist, Masterji.
The characterisation is excellent, and even though I worried at the beginning that too many were introduced at once, I had absolutely no trouble keeping them apart.
The themes of this novel are not pleasant. It describes how long-term loyalties and family devotion can be casually corrupted by money and how our pasts form us as surely as if we were made from dough. But this is not a simple fable. The complexity of the story is carefully revealed so that no character is entirely right or wrong. All have reason and motive. Masterji's inertia is examined in all possible lights, from heroic rebellion to selfish conservatism. He is portrayed as devoted teacher and husband and also as repellent bully and mad-man. His pride and humility are tossed on a sea of revelations which are too painful to endure.
Excellent read. Can't wait to get on with Aravind Adiga's more famous novel The White Tiger, but I am worried because it has those fateful words on the jacket, "Million-copy bestseller," so often millions are wrong.