The title refers to the fine balance between hope and despair for four Indians surviving emergency rule, poverty, and the caste system in India ruthless crackdown on disorder by Indira Ghandi during during the 1970s . The chaos of the street appears mostly offstage while the action occurs like a play in the tiny house of Dinabai, a widow trying to live independently after her eyes fail. She takes on a boarding student and two tailors to generate revenue. Mistry’s writing took my heart from my body and placed it in the toiling hands of the four protagonists struggling against unfathomable odds. Both sweeping in scope and microcosmic in its examination of daily life this is writing that in my opinion is destined for a Nobel Prize in literature. November, 2005.