When Parul is only 6 years old, her father, Ahmed, decides to leave her with the Sens, a Hindu family of considerably superior financial means. Parul and her family had become so poor that they were on the brink of starvation. Parul is taken in as a maid, but her status in the wealthy family is discomfortingly ambiguous, a lack of clarity highlighted by her relationship with Mohini Sen. As Parul grows up, Mohini becomes a close friend and a kind of sister but also an object of great envy, a situation sensitively portrayed by Roychowdhury: “How much she tried to belong in Mohini’s world, and how unsuitable and poorly matched she was.” Moreover, since the Sen family is Hindu, Parul is forced to conceal her Muslim faith. Parul’s estrangement from her own family members, who increasingly treats her as no more than a source of income, exacts a terrible emotional toll on her. She seeks solace in her Muslim spirituality, a clandestine attachment encouraged by her secret boyfriend, Rahim. With impressive nuance, the author chronicles Parul’s growing emotional crisis, one that crescendos with a terrible choice. Rahim, out of an angry, radical rejection of all infidels, asks Parul to commit an act of violence that would count as a betrayal of her host family. Roychowdhury’s prose is deceptively simple and straightforward, but her story is deeply complex—Parul’s life touches on the alienation experienced as a result of religious identity, gender, and socio-economic class. While this is fairly well-traveled literary ground, the author’s treatment has a dramatic authenticity that makes it seem like a fresh rendering rather than the rehash of a formula.