Staff Recommendation: In London, Shyama and her younger partner Toby want to have a child together, but at forty-four she is running out of options. They travel to India to explore surrogacy at a respected clinic, meeting Mala, a young woman unsatisfied with the restrictions of village life and her cold marriage. Meanwhile Shyama’s ninteen year old daughter Tara is unhappy about their plans and her ageing parents have their own battles to fight.
Syal creates the intimate feel of family life and close friendships, ranging between London and India with its traditional villages, fast-changing cities and exhausting bureaucracy. This intimacy makes her exploration of the global financial politics of fertility more powerful and thought-provoking, as well as emotionally affecting. This is a warm-hearted novel told with Syal’s irrepressible humour and filled with lively, spirited characters.