They were all beggars at the gate, thinks Asha, as she joins the vast queue for visas outside the American Embassy. In a corrupt, seedy dictatorship, whose citizens feel it's a prison outside too, what else is there to do? But the option of escape is not open to, or desired by all. There are other choices to be made. Should Jagru quit the opposition and try to influence the ruling party from within? When will Manu's luck with smuggling run out? Where is Lal's duty? With his family or fighting the Government? Is Chandi's concern with her children enough?
In a country, uncommonly like Guyana of the 1980s, a state beset by economic collapse, political dictatorship and social corruption, Narmala Shewcharan's skilfully constructed novel brings together the lives of five interlinked sets of characters. Without imposing easy judgements, Narmala Shewcharan takes us inside the choices her characters make, and their price. Whilst her vision of their nightmarish world is bleak in portraying the human costs of social fragmentation, the novel also asserts the moral basis of community in the very web of effect each individual choice has on the lives of others.