This book captures the tumult, ambition, hardship, and serenity that mark today’s India. Paul Theroux’s characters risk venturing far beyond the subcontinent’s well-worn paths to discover woe or truth or peace. A middle-aged couple on vacation veers heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds succour in Mumbai’s reeking slums. And a young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore.