This is possibly the best book I've ever read. It was given to me by a friend of mine who loved it, and said that before she read it she had no desire to go to India, but after having read it she couldn't wait to go.
This book is over 900 pages, so I found it a little challenging to start b/c I didn't want to carry it around with me to read on the bus (too bulky) and I was so tired each night that I couldn't read more than a page or two. But I finally got a chance to read a small chunk of it in one sitting and that was it for me. I loved it and couldn't put it down.
There are a few notable things about this book. One is that it's billed as a novel but I'm 90% certain that these things all actually happened to the author. I think he wrote it as a novel so he could change some names and protect the innocent (or guilty). Another amazing thing is how well it's written. This guy isn't really a trained writer, and I think he has a natural ability which is very rare. I am exceedingly critical of bad writing styles, and not once did anything in this book irritate me. Perhaps because he is such a great writer, all of the characters are well developed and you find yourself wanting to know what happens with each of them--and there are a lot. I honestly couldn't name all the characters he describes in detail--more than probably any other book I've read. But at no point did I find myself thinking I couldn't keep track of who was who (which I often do), and I really cared about each of these people personally.
The story itself is phenomenal, and I have been giving this book to everyone I know. Read it. It's amazing and it will be one of the best books you've ever read.