The story traces the journey of four Japanese tourists on tour in India. Each goes to India for different purposes and with different expectations.
Set against the backdrop of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, each traveler finds his or her own spiritual discovery on the banks of the Ganges River.
"A trip to India becomes a journey of discovery for a group of Japanese tourists playing out their "individual dramas of the soul." Isobe searches for his reincarnated wife, while Kiguchi relives the wartime horror that ultimately saved his life. Alienated by middle age, Mitsuko follows Otsu, a failed priest, to the holy city of Varanas, hoping that the murky Ganges holds the secret to the 'difference between being alive and truly living.' Looking for absolutes, each character confronts instead the moral ambiguity of India's complex culture....Endo, one of Japan's leading writers, skillfully depicts the small details of life, investing them with universal significance." (
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