It's the mid-to-late 1800s and the British have banished Wajid Ali Shah the nawab of Awadh in Lucknow to Calcutta. To the sound of the soulful melody of the sarangi, the mercurial courtesan Laayl-e Aasman is playing a dangerous game of love, loyalty, deception, and betrayal. Bajrangi and Kundan, bound by their love for each other and for Laayl-e, struggle to keep their balance. Ranging across generations and geography, the scale of Laayl-e's story sweeps the devil, a crime lord, and many other remarkable characters into a heady mix.Mirror of the Darkest Night is almost an aberration in Mahasweta Devi's oeuvre. Known for her activism and hard-hitting indictment of social inequalities, she pays close attention to detail in this sparkling novel. It offers a rare glimpse of Devi's talent for telling the sort of story she normally eschewed and it's a cracker of a tale.