Uma ‑ a young Indian American graduate student bewildered by love relationships, Uma imagines the stories of the people waiting around her: "She had always been this way: interested ‑‑ quite unnecessarily, some would say ‑‑ in the secrets of strangers."
Malathi‑ the secretary at the visa office, who knows all too well what can become of those who dabble at indiscretions when relationships are concerned
Mangalam ‑ an immigration officer at the Indian Consulate, hurt by his relationships in India, finds he cannot stop his flirtatious behavior in America
Jiang ‑ Lily's grandmother who grew up in India with her Chinese family and tells of a secret past history of racial disparity and war, "What is forbidden is attractive. Also what is different. Also, when it is the first time. Put all of them together, they make strong wine."
Lily‑ Jiang's Goth teenage American granddaughter with a hidden talent, who struggles between cultural tradition and the freedom to decide
Cameron ‑ a middle aged African American military veteran haunted by lost opportunities at the cost of hasty decisions
Tariq ‑a young Muslim dealing with the fallout of 911 in the U.S., who does not realize how his distrust of people causes it in others
Mrs. Pritchett ‑ an upper class Caucasian American woman suffering from bouts of depression who longs for something more
Mr. Pritchett ‑ an upper class Caucasian American man hoping to provide a getaway for his ailing wife, neglecting his own psychological suffering