Author S. Shankar will read from his book "Ghost in the Tamarind," an inter-caste love story set in 20th-century India, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Ave. E., 206-684-4715 .

Library events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Free parking is available in the underground garage.

Who can you love? What do you owe to love and what to the world at large? These questions drive the story of Ramu, a Brahmin man, and Ponni, a woman of the Dalit "untouchable" caste. Set against the backdrop of South India, the novel starts readers from the 1890s village where Ramu's grandmother grew up, to the 21-month Emergency period in 1970s Madras. Against this canvas, the drama of Ramu and Ponni's forbidden love unfolds while intertwined with the struggle against caste oppression. Caught up in love and politics, the couple risks everything to fight for a better society.

Shankar is a literary and cultural critic, novelist and translator from Tamil. He is the author or editor of eight books, and is a professor of English and former director of Creative Writing at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. "Ghost in the Tamarind" is Shankar's third novel.