A family of extraordinary physicians who battle epidemics, deadly diseases, love and loss, in the city of dichotomies that is Calcutta.
In the early years of the twentieth century, Calcutta is grappling with deadly diseases such as the plague, cholera, typhoid, malaria, and kala-azar caused by viruses, bacteria, and other infectious organisms. The populace is restive under British rule, and World War I looms large on the horizon. Set against this tumultuous backdrop, is an indelible tale of loss, hope, love, and mortality.
Dr Dwarikanath Ghoshal is one of the city’s most celebrated physicians. Four generations of Ghoshals continue to infuse their scientific temper and liberal values into the lives of people around them. There is Dwarikanath’s headstrong son, Kritindranath Ghoshal, who as soon as he acquires his medical degree joins the Bengal Ambulance Corps and sets off for the battlefield in Mesopotamia during World War I. There is also his soulmate, his fiery cousin Madhumadhabi, who trains to be an Ayurvedic doctor, and is heartbroken when Kritindranath is married off. Equally compelling are Dwarikanath’s wife, Amodini, his grandson, Punyendranath, his great-grandson, Dwijottam, and a myriad other brilliantly imagined characters who play out their lives in the course of the novel, fighting diseases, social mores, and trying to cope with the enormous, convulsive changes the city and country are experiencing.