Anita Desai's novel of intricate family relations plays out in two countries, India and the United States. The core characters comprise a family living in a small town in India, where provincial customs and attitudes dictate the future of all children: girls are to be married off and boys are to become as educated as possible. The story contrasts the life of the unmarried main character, Uma, a spinster, the family's older daughter, with Arun, the boy and baby of the family. Uma spends her life in subservience to her older demanding parents, while massive effort and energy is expended to insure Arun's education and placement in a university in Massachusetts. Aruna gets married. In part two we are introdued to Arun in America.Therefore we can compare and contrast between the Indian and the American culture.