This international literary bestseller tackles the caste system in India, the political upheaval with the advent of socialism, the disintegrating fortunes of a wealthy family who manufactures traditional pickles and condiments, and the catastrophic consequences when a woman of that family and her son and daughter (“two-egg twins”) dare to cross caste boundaries. This could have been a sweeping, weighty tome. Instead it is a compact, vividly rendered, deeply personal account with shifting POVs and time inversions.

My one complaint is that the eponymous “God” remains a cipher, an empty hub around which the wheel of the other characters and their stories spin. That may very well have been the author’s intent, but felt to me like a bit of an omission.

After the grim, devastating story, the author gifts us at the end, through the magic trick of time inversion, with a lovely lyrical scene filled with hope and promise. We as readers may close the book smiling through our tears. Recommended.

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