It is 1947 and Saam Bharucha, a Parsee, is in Junagadh as legal adviser to the nawab to help steer the state through the tricky path of accession to either India or Pakistan. As he struggles with the morality of eating the nawab’s salt while opposing his wishes to join Pakistan, his life changes dramatically. Away from his wife Zarine, he has an affair with Claire, a British lady, which ends his marriage and creates a rift with his son, Rohinton. Growing up in newly independent India, Rohinton, too, has his share of drama. Expelled from medical school, sued for libel and given a hard time by the beautiful Feroza, his life plays out as a tragicomic counterpart to his father’s. Drawing on real-life characters and events, Ancestral Affairs is a family saga with a grand sweep – from the opium wars to the freedom struggle to the Partition of the subcontinent. Seldom have the events of 1947, and their fallout, been described in such humane detail and with such droll humour in Indian fiction.