A young Indian woman is finally healthy thanks to a heart transplant, but when she becomes the target of a notorious crime lord, she has to depend on the man she loves to protect her.
Kimi has battled illnesses since she was a child—first a compromised immune system, then a weak heart. Through it all, her one friend has been Rahul, a boy whose father, a policeman, died protecting her own father, Kirit, a politician. Kirit has helped Rahul, giving him opportunities he wouldn’t otherwise have had. He’ll never be able to pay off the debt, but Rahul insists on working in Kirit’s house, where he meets Kimi. The two unlikely friends are well-matched intellectually and respond to each other’s wounded spirits, and the relationship helps the lonely Kimi thrive. Rahul is very much aware of their financial and social differences—“The Mansion’s main living room never failed to make him feel like he had wandered up to the forbidden first-class deck on the Titanic”—and once Kimi is a healthy adult, Rahul tries to protect himself and honor her father’s wishes by distancing himself. Kimi is frustrated that he won’t admit he loves her and tries to move on, an attempt that is foiled when a local crime lord threatens her; Rahul, now a high-ranking police officer, won’t let anyone else protect her. The menace is attached to an illegal organ investigation, but Kimi’s donation was clean, so why is someone after her? Kimi and Rahul travel from Mumbai to Hong Kong to get answers, learning truths about each other and their pasts that will strengthen their devotion but may also forge obstacles they can’t overcome. Dev’s (A Change of Heart, 2016, etc.) latest searingly asks its characters what they’re willing to do for the people they love, with a narrative that deftly jumps from past to present as it explores family dynamics, class issues, and many layers of guilt, hope, and determination in ways that are both distinctly Indian and universally luminous.
Another beautiful, breathtaking novel from a not-to-be-missed author.