A doctor’s white coat is like an armour against the world. Cool and confident behind it, smiling to reassure nervous patients, while the doctor’s own anxieties and uncertainties remain well hidden. In a Better Place takes us to the world behind that self-assured exterior through the lives of Sudha, practicing in a busy hospital in the heart of Delhi, her husband, Girish, and their close circle of doctor friends and colleagues. It is a world of sudden crises and long hours in bleak hospital wards, courageous fights to save a life and heartbreak, personal dilemmas and aspirations for a better life, but also the great satisfactions of a job well done. Always there is the pulsating canvas of the city—first the hospital in Delhi, then in England. From minor observations to broader strokes—a doctor evaluating quickly what to do to save a patient, the rusty screech of a screen as it is pulled to give privacy to a patient being given emergency care, to a tea seller near the IIT gate and a dhaba which serves excellent food, the details help us connect to Sudha, Girish, Jai and Sanjay with a rare immediacy. Always, like a good doctor does her patient, Bornali Datta carries the reader along with her. Sudha and her husband do get to be where they think they want to be, but, as this engaging novel develops, it is not quite what they wanted, they realise.