Anita Desai's short stories reflect the kaleidoscope of modern Indian life. They are set in contemporary Bombay and other cities and they evoke the colours, sounds, smells and white-hot heat of Indian cities. The stories are peopled with intensely individual characters: there is a painter living in a slum who fills his paintings with landscapes, birds and flowers he has never seen. There is an American woman who turns to the hippies in the Indian hills because she is unhappy with her life in the verdant countryside of Vermont. There is a man spiritually transformed by the surface texture of a melon. And many more. It is a finely written, atmospheric, memorable collection of short stories. As always with Anita Desai, her work is warm, perceptive, both funny and touched with sadness.