Set in an unnamed hill station similar to Mussoorie, this is the story of two women – an American missionary named Rachel and a Bengali poet name Renuka. They are unlike each other in many ways, yet share a friendship that reveals a universal desire for human understanding. And the recipes in the book are worth trying…


In Renuka, Alter has drawn a remarkable portrait of a totally credible woman … he captures exactly the love-hate attitudes of Westerners who spend time in the subcontinent … a rare achievement to use a simple framework so effectively.

Sarah Curtis Times Literary Supplement

Renuka is a most accomplished, utterly convincing study of two women of different backgrounds and contrasting temperaments… The books rises to a moving climax, followed by an adagio of ‘lingering sadness’ like the aftermath of a ‘disturbing dream’… by far Alter’s best.

John Mellors The London Magazine