Theroux’s world is delineated once again in these tales, whose settings and moods vary from the exotic to the familiar. The title story, set in India, is a wry commentary on the manners and morals of an arranged marriage. “A Love Knot,” about a young student from Calcutta living in Boston, suggests the infinite possibility of coincidence in human relationships. Other stories take place in Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, and Russia -- parts of the world where Theroux has lived and traveled.
Although distinguished by such diversity, the stories are bound together by a single thread -- the author’s tragicomic vision of the world. This vision, together with Theroux’s intelligence and ironic wit, enables him through his craft to transform situations into art.