I recently read two Booker Prize winners, Offshore (1979) and The God of Small Things (1997), when taking a break from slogging through Henry James’s, The Ambassadors. In one of those oddly common instances of literary serendipidy, Offshore and TGST were similar in several respects — both were by women, about women, and involved atypical, insular communities. Offshore is about a group of misfits living in converted barges on the Thames river in London. TGST is about a Syrian Christian family in a small town in India. Also, both were excellent entertainment, although in different ways. Offshore was a little gem that offered a glimpse into this secret world on the river before ending without tying up loose ends. TGST addresses bigger issues, has a more complicated plot, and uses wonderful, Nabokov-like word play. Both have stuck with me.