A tragicomedy but more tragi than funny. How can you not enjoy a book with a character named “Pinky Madam,” whose motto is “What a fucking joke.” And that pretty much wraps up the situation. Everyone acknowledges the farce, and plays along. Overall, the book gave me the feeling we’re doomed, though I was pretty sure of that.
I liked how the story was couched in a series of letters to the Chinese premier. Since China serves little purpose to the story beyond providing a comparison for India, this structure was a kind of weird aside, which nevertheless worked well, and humorously, and didn’t intrude on the narrative.
The protagonist’s service as a driver makes up the bulk of the book and is the most engaging part. You kind of wish he’d stick to the moral high ground even though it’s a graveyard. So when he doesn’t stick to it you can’t blame him. My mother complained about the end, but it worked for me, although it was a tad long-winded.