I'm quite a fan of Pinki Virani's earlier work - Once was Bombay, so there might be a bit of a bias here. :)
'Deaf heaven' is billed as her first work of fiction, but is perhaps as close to non-fiction as it can get. The characters are clearly based on the contemporary personalities - from movie stars to politicians, and the descriptions are such that a little knowledge can easily help you identify them - the 'caterpillar -eyebrows' actress to the leader of the saffron army, to the famous film star and his wannabe famous son and the lesbian maker of daily soaps. See? :)
The narrator is the cleft lipped and recently dead Saraswati, librarian by profession and collector of facts. Over a weekend, with an eclipse that serves as a climax for the multiple narratives, she traces the lives of the characters, a mixture of the famous and the ordinary, connected to each other by varying degrees of separation.
The book is a commentary on modern India and its mixture of contradictions, with representatives from different geographies, strata in life, age, and religion. Though primarily a woman's perspective, the author manages to tackle the paradoxes of the emerging superpower - from female infanticide (and an ingenious way of communicating the unborn child's gender - an illegal act), and tribal exploitation, to the mechanics of religion-politics, the effect of chemicals on vultures and the 'death by railway track' on Mumbai's famed local trains, all interconnected, just like the characters.
Though a preachy tone does dominate the last part of the book, it is definitely a must read, not just for the pertinent and fundamental questions the author makes us think about, but also for her razor sharp wit.