This could have been merely ""how I visited my wife's exotic relatives in sordid Calcutta, plus her view of the trip,"" by a pair of Montreal professors of English literature. It is put into an entirely different category by Clark Blaise's Part I, which is something of a tour de force in evoking another, alien world. He had certain advantages: he had married into one of the accomplished Bengali families whose men could work anywhere in the world as scientists and managers. Blaise, moreover, has both enough sensitivity and enough brass to be able to step right into a strange society, and be accepted. He insists on understanding everything--politics, security, religion, business, family life--and in his hands it forms a marvelously complex and interesting world, surrounded by a second of poverty, crime, and street life. Bharati Mukherjee's Part II, concentrating on the lives of women, should no doubt be seen as something of a corrective, but despite her earlier successful novel (The Tiger's Daughter, 1972), it seems to whine a little and never really come into focus. Half more, half less, than one has reason to expect.