What is particularly enjoyable are the asides the writer/narrator makes to his maid/lover Padma as she reads his manuscript and comments on his family history.
As the story develops and moves into political territory with the movements against British rule gathering momentum and the narrator’s grandfather hoping for some sort of change, which is cruelly snuffed out, there is a wider aspect to the story. Having developed to begin with the focus on the family the lens now opens wider to take in a country on the brink of change.
The family tales continues to develop with the narrator’s father and mother meeting but it does so in Delhi where the couple live. The announcement of the narrator’s existence comes as a crowd threaten to lynch a man for the apparent crime of being a Hindu in a Muslim area. Meanwhile businesses are being burnt down as mafia type groups exploit the religious divide that is soon to be crystallised in the partition with Pakistan.
With the information that the narrator is only in his thirties and that his birth is just months away the focus is going to clearly be on his life and India’s during independence. But before that there are presumably some more visual treats in store – you sometimes feel you are being given the keys to a foreign world - as the first book nears its end.