In this collection of essays, profiles and reportage, Ian Jack explores a wide and unlikely range of subjects, which he encountered in more than thirty years of reporting from India and its subcontinental neighbours. Some of the India he describes has vanished, the drift of coal smoke from passenger trains, tea drunk from clay kulhads at country junctions. Some of it remains obscure, Orwell's birthplace in Motihari, the Anglo- Indian search for a homeland in McCluskiegunge. Some of it perseveres: The Nehruâ€"Gandhis, the distress, the politics and the hospitality. The choice is eclectic, he writes about G.D. Birla and river steamers on the one hand and Benazir Bhutto and railway accidents on the other. But every piece in this selection is informed by the author's acute insights and superb eye for detail, expressed in luminous, evocative prose.