A stirring and profound novel of spiritual quests and emotional exile. Young and in love, Sophie and Matteo share a dissatisfaction with their bourgeois upbringing and a yearning for spiritual fulfillment that brings them, like so many others, to India. But the realities of life on an ashram magnify the lovers’ differences. Pragmatic Sophie is horrified and disillusioned by the poverty and hardships they encounter; Matteo, a dreamer, sees only the purity of ascetic life. Eventually his personal search leads him away from Sophie and toward the Mother, a charismatic guru. In an effort to reclaim Matteo, Sophie embarks on her own journey for the truth about the Mother’s mysterious past. What these three people discover is at the heart of this masterful novel—that wisdom is found in the journey itself, and not at its destination.
“The richest and subtlest of her novels . . . Desai’s ‘truth’ is a peacock’s tail. Long after I closed this beautiful book, I watched the iridescent colors change, and change again.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“As always, Ms. Desai writes with intelligence and power. She has a remarkable eye for substance, the things that give life its texture.”—San Francisco Chronicle
About Anita Desai
Anita Desai was born and educated in India. Her novels Fasting, Feasting, Clear Light of Day and In Custody, were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In Custody was filmed by Merchant Ivory Productions. Anita Desai is a Fellow of… More about Anita Desai