What do we do when the world's walls - its family structures, its value-systems, its political forms - crumble? The central character of this novel, 'Moor' Zogoiby, only son of a wealthy, artistic-bohemian Bombay family , finds himself at such a moment of crisis. His mother, a famous painter and an emotional despot, worships beauty, but Moor is ugly, he has a deformed hand. Moor falls in love, with a married woman; when their secret is revealed, both are expelled: a suicide pact is proposed, but only the woman dies. Moor chooses to accept his fate, plunges, into a life of depravity in Bombay, then leaves for London where he becomes embroiled in a major financial scandal. The novel ends in Spain, in the studio of a painter who was the lover of Moor's mother: in a violent climax Moor has, once more, to decide whether to save the life of his lover by sacrificing his own.