In a braided narrative that unites the stories of two striking women, Charlotte Bacon explores the emotional and psychological turbulence of suppressed family histories, the bravery needed to renew broken lives, and the difficulties we all have in responding to the pain of others.
Anna Singer, a charmingly independent young New Yorker, feels derailed after losing her father to a car accident and her husband to a younger woman. She books a trip to India, hoping that there she will be able to put her grief into perspective. Though this is her first visit, India has always tantalized her: her English mother, Rose, was raised in Calcutta during the twilight of the British Raj, but seldom spoke of her childhood. Then, as Anna departs, Rose gives her a manuscript in which she has recorded her Indian memories--growing up with a Hindu ayah and a widower father, torn between two cultures and belonging completely to neither. Anna's sense of how she fits into the world is unexpectedly challenged by the daunting complexity of modern India, but even greater surprises are in store when she turns the pages of her mother's memoir.
There is Room for You brilliantly traces the experience of India from the dual perspectives of Anna, who flees to the country, and Rose, who fled from it. The unexpected parallels in the lives of mother and daughter become a nuanced contemplation of the nature of family in a world of profound suffering.