Seth begins by introducing us to Lata, a nineteen year old woman with a mother who is looking for a husband for her. The story expands to include a cross-section of the population of India in the 1950's just after separation and the establishment of Pakistan. It is the year of elections. Will the Congress party return to power, or will the factions split the vote. By the time the year is out, we are back full circle to Lata and her life. All the characters are both entertaining and interesting on the personal level, as well as quite revealing of the social group they represent. A very good story but you have to be determined to read it. At 1349 pages and with a lot of politics and a lot of characters thrown in, it is a challenge. I enjoyed it and had marathon reading sessions so I could finish it in two weeks.