It is also a coming- of-age novel set at the confluence of three great cultures - the protagonist's conservative, middle-class Brahmin family; the British colonial universe of the boarding school; and the rock 'n' roll, drugs, free love philosophy of the 1970s - filtered to this small corner of India. Young Charu finds herself in a school that is still run like an outpost of the Empire, with Scottish dancing, scripture studies, and porridge for breakfast. By day, Charu shares Shrewsbury biscuits and tea with the school's British missionaries and teaches Shakespeare to a hothouse of privileged Indian girls; by night, she is drawn to the troubled and charismatic Moira Prince - a fellow teacher harbouring secrets of her own - and her pot-smoking hippie friends. Then, one monsoon night, a teacher is murdered, and the ordered world of the school and the town - peopled by colonial-era eccentrics, small-town gossips, and hippie misfits - is thrown into chaos. Charu finds herself implicated in the murder, and suddenly her real education Begins.
Nayana Currimbhoy was raised in India where she attended an all-girls boarding school in a fairly remote hill station. She moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s, and has been a businesswoman and a freelance writer. She has written books, film scripts and articles about many things, including architecture and design, and a biography of Indira Gandhi. This is her first novel. Nayana lives in New York City with her husband, an architect, and their teenage daughter.