This is one of my five all time favorite books (along with the Handmaid's Tale, On Beauty, the Red Tent, & Corelli's Mandolin). It is a patch work story of many characters' lives; by the end of the story, you see how they all intersect.
This was one of those books where when I finished the book I was completely invested in each of the character's life. The story is set in post-independence India and explores a number of social/political issues of the time (i.e. land reform, muslim-hindu relations, women's rights, arranged marriage, the caste system), but the political commentary doesn't hit you over the head, and the characters really drive the story.
Despite my enthusiastic recommendations, I've had a hard time finding anyone to read this book! At 1379 pages it is apparently the longest book to be printed in English in one volume. However I found it to be a total page turner. Just resign yourself to the fact that you'll be reading this book for a couple of months and give it a try.