I would think that there is a significantly seriously tone to Mukherjee's work. The reality is that the author understands that there are a couple of layers that are at work, necessitating the serious tone to her work. On one hand, the placement of an Indian protagonist is significant. At the time of writing, there was a strong sense of mystery and hesitation towards "the other" in depicting a protagonist of Indian descent. Additionally, Mukherjee understands clearly that the predicament of an Indian woman is distinctly different from an Indian man. She understands that any depiction of men and women will differ in literature, but she also grasps that the Indian male and female distinction requires a very serious and focused tone towards the subject. Layers of sedimented cultural beliefs have to be dissected and new understanding must emerge, requiring a more serious and driven tone to the narrative. Finally, the fact that Mukherjee plays with settings as diverse as Punjab India to New York to Iowa means that there has to be a guiding tone for the reader who has to keep pace with an evolving heroine and background simultaneously. I think that all of these contribute to a serious tone, indicative of what the author is up against in her work and what must be demonstrated through it.