Family tensions, love triangles, and the assorted trials of village life recur in these bittersweet scenes of modern India. Jhabvala concentrates on quiet exchanges that leave much unsaid, on gestures and manners that mask inner feelings. Frequently her heroines speak in the seemingly shallow voices of young women who know more than they reveal but less than they need to survive: a prostitute troubled by a philandering lover, painfully swallowing his lies; a wife choked by small town horizons and the too-constant attentions of her elderly husband; the innocent wife of an arrested finagler, resuming her customary platitudes after one screaming outburst. The title story features a fashion model, two marriages into her twenties, who finds peace with an easy-going guru, the pair performing religiously for the multitudes when not making love in the ashram. In another, two misfits form a shaky alliance enabling them to withstand the slights of their families. Ten stories muted in tone, strong in texture--you can almost taste the village dust.