Exposing the extremes of life in a developing country, this compelling novel of doomed love shows how poverty, class divisions, and ramshackle housing become even harder to bear when luxurious resorts and rich tourists arrive on the scene. Growing up on the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, lonely young Maya hopes that someday she might escape her poverty and find happiness in the desirable housing developments near the new hotels. When she falls in love with a man from a well-to-do family, she believes that her dream is within reach, but her hopes are shattered when her lover is too weak to defy his family and agrees to an arranged marriage to a woman from his own caste. For Maya, this is a crushing blow that turns her love into hatred and murderous madness. Only slowly does she begin to change her outlook, finally understanding that she embodies the land she comes from, with all its antagonisms, and that it is only by embracing her identity that she can catch a precious glimpse of freedom.