Roy’s chiselled prose allows her to expose the endless, treacherous hypocrisies of Indian society ... India is evoked in the ginger and crushed cloves of a seaside tea-stall, the poetry of Jibanananda Das, the scent of grapefruit and above all, in the shame of speaking about sexual violence ... In tackling these issues, Roy has used the most potent weapon in a writer’s arsenal – the form of the novel, with its ability to simultaneously be universal and particular – to boldly unmask the hidden face of Indian spirituality and the rampant sexual abuse in its unholy confines.
Roy writes beautifully. Western readers looking for the 'exotic,' 'colorful' and 'tragic' Orient full of Hollywood fantasies need to look elsewhere. Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) is, thankfully, nowhere to be found. Roy’s style is confident, and she trusts the reader to follow her characters because their paths are compelling ... Many small narrative moments of surprise and fresh, original language keep the reader engaged. One of the haunting pleasures of this book is how time dilates and refracts, how the stories of the characters act as prisms, illuminating sharp moments of pleasure, recognition and suffering.
...[a] compulsively readable novel ... The book deftly captures an India where women encounter harassment at every turn ... The book is not without flaws. Sometimes, Roy allows herself to be overwhelmed by symbolism ... These quibbles fade in the radiance of Roy’s accomplishment. The world she creates is ambitiously imagined, her characters possessed of an inner verity.