One of the settings of the novel is Beli, where Connie lives. Bali is an island and province of Indonesia. Bali is a popular tourist destination, which has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music.
In Bali Connie plays gamelan music with a local band. Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments used are metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat. Other instruments include xylophones, bamboo flutes, a bowed instrument called a rebab, and even vocalists called sindhen.
Roxana comes from Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia. It is a unitary, constitutional, presidential republic, comprising twelve provinces, one autonomous republic and a capital city.
Roxana talks about the uprising which ended up with her brother dead. We later learn that her brother didn’t die, but is in prison. The Andijan massacre occurred when Uzbek Interior Ministry and National Security Service troops fired into a crowd of protesters in Andijan in the Republic of Uzbekistan on 13 May 2005. Estimates of those killed on 13 May range from 187, the official count of the government, to several hundred.
When at the end of the book Connie visits Roxana, she goes to Bokhara. Bukhara is one of the cities of Uzbekistan. Bukhara is a city-museum, with about 140 architectural monuments.
In Bukhara Connie visits the Minaret, the Ark, the Women’s Hamman, the Mosque of Forty Pillars, and the Chor Minor.
The Kalyan minaret is a minaret of the Po-i-Kalyan mosque complex in Bukhara, Uzbekistan and one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. The minaret, designed by Bako, was built by the Qarakhanid ruler Mohammad Arslan Khan in 1127 to summon Muslims to prayer five times a day.
The hamman is where women can have a bath, a massage, and purify themselves.
Bolo-Hauz Mosque is the 17th century mosque, which was a place of prayer for the Emirs and their entourage. Bolo-Hauz Mosque is the only preserved monument in Registan Square that includes: multi-column aivan, domed mosque, minaret and a small pool. It is also known as the mosque of the forty pillars.
When Connie tries to find her mother, she goes to Catherine’s House where the General Records Office is. Following the closure of Somerset House in 1970, the central archive of public records such as birth, marriage & death certificates were moved to St. Catherine’s House. Both St.Catherine’s House and Somerset House have now closed and currently no public counter service exists to obtain copy certificates nationally due to the closure also of the Family Records Centre. It is still possible to obtain a copy certificate from the registry office responsible for the registration of the birth, marriage or death at the time.
Connie learns from Kathy that after having been found she stayed in the royal hospital in London. The Royal London was founded in September 1740 and was originally named the London Infirmary. The name changed to the London Hospital in 1748, and in 1990 to the Royal London Hospital.
From her real mother Connie only has a marcasite earring that was pinned to her blanket when she was abandoned.
Stoke Newington is where Bill and Jeanette first lived as a married couple. Stoke Newington is an area occupying the north-west part of the London Borough of Hackney.
When Jeanette and Bill go to Bill, they learn about the philosophy of dhama and adharma. Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religions–Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviours that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible,[note 1] and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’. Adharma is the Sanskrit antonym of Dharma. It means ‘that which is not in accord with the Dharma’.
They attend the cremation of Connie’s neighbour’s father. Ngaben, or Cremation Ceremony, is a funeral ritual performed in Bali to send the deceased to the next life. The body of the deceased will be placed as if sleeping, and the family will continue to treat the deceased as sleeping. No tears are shed, because the deceased is only temporarily absent and will reincarnate or find final rest in Moksha. On the day of the ceremony, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin. This coffin is placed inside a sarcophagus resembling a buffalo (Lembu) or in a temple structure (Wadah) made of papier-maché and wood. This sarcophagus is then borne to the cremation site in a procession, which is almost never walked in a straight line. This is done to confuse evil spirits and keep them away from the deceased. The climax of a Ngaben is the burning of the sarcophagus containing the body of the deceased. The fire is viewed as necessary to free the spirit from the body and enable reincarnation.