This novel set
in the immigrant Indian community in England, is both immediate
and moving. It consists of two separate but linked themes which
together symbolise the tensions and preoccupations of the community.
The first story revolves around Tekchand, the established leader
of the Indian community in a small Midlands industrial town. Once
a poor peasant from the Punjab, he is now a house owner and the
possessor of a steady job with which to support his wife and four
children. The factory where he works is the scene of an ugly extortion
racket, operated by Harbans, himself an immigrant, who charges
new arrival for 'introductions', and once they're employed, extorts
further payments by threatening dismissal. An English shop steward
joins with Tekchand to trying to stop Harban's activities, and
together they try to persuade their co-workers to give evidence.
The second story concerns Tekchand's daughter, Leela, whose relationship,
at first tentative, later loving, with a young Englishman brings
to the surface age-old tensions and prejudices. The two stories,
at first seemingly separate, fuse into a gripping finale.
UK- Macmillan; India