Anita Desai was born and brought up in India and has written widely for both adults and children. She has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has won the Guardian Fiction Award.
Eric is a buttoned down Boston boy, a misfit in his family of hearty fisher folk. Uncertain he will ever complete the book on immigration he has been funded to write, he impetuously decides to follow his bossy girlfriend to Mexico. There, he is seduced by the pageantry of this colourful new country and its old world charm, and stumbles on an astonishing discovery - his grandfather was one of the Cornish miners who worked the local mines more than a hundred years ago, and once had another wife. Soon, Eric will find himself abandoning his own tentative future project in search of his family's other lives.
The Zigzag Way is the story of twentieth century Mexico, through civil unrest and personal calamity; of the exploitation of the Mexican Indians, and their dubious saviours, such as the formidable DoÃ±avera, widow of a mining baron, and eric's own grandmother, a young Cornish girl whose grave lies in a hillside cemetery. And in unravelling their dark, often violent, histories on the dÃa de los Muertos, the day locals celebrate and remember their dead, Eric comes face to face with his own story, its past and present; even, the afterlife. Haunting and luminous, the zigzag way is a magical novel of strange, elegiac beauty.