The Bureau of Second Chances
By (author) Sheena Kalayil
Is going back the only way to start again?After more than thirty years in London, recently-widowed Thomas Imbalil returns to India. He spends his first months in uncluttered isolation in his house overlooking the Arabian Sea, in a small fishing village in Kerala. But when he agrees to look after his friend’s business, Chacko’s Optical Store, he meets and befriends Rani, the young assistant. Before long he discovers that Rani is using the store to run an intriguing side-business.He agrees to turn a blind eye to her operations until his friend returns, but this discovery makes him restless, and reminds him of the loneliness he is feeling and which lies ahead of him. Rani also reveals herself as a much more complex individual than he had first imagined, and while he had envisaged a quiet re-acquaintance with his homeland, Thomas finds himself becoming more and more entangled with the lives of those around him.
Sheena Kalayil was born in Zambia in 1970 where her parents were teachers seconded from Kerala, India. She arrived in the UK aged eighteen and, after graduating, worked all over the world. She now teaches at the University of Manchester and is currently completing a doctorate in Linguistics. She lives near Manchester with her husband and two daughters.