Madame Natraja is an enigmatic expatriate in a city of grace and mystery, poverty and chaos. The Lonely Planet recommends the Saraswati Guest House, and meeting Madame, "a one woman blend of east and west", as well worth the trip. Over the course of a weekend, several guests turn up at the Saraswati, shocked to encounter a three-hundred-some pound, surly, white woman in a sari. Then, when an episode of Hindu-Muslim violence shatters the peace, the entire city is placed under curfew -- no one may leave their home. So begins a period of days blending into nights as Natraja and her Indian cook become entangled in the web of religious violence. And their guests, each slowly falling under the spell of this ancient kingdom by the river -- both enthralled and repelled by the begging children, the public funeral pyres, the holy men bathing in the Ganges at dawn -- feel the rumble of their own inner revolutions as they are drawn further into the folds of their captive city.