Book Review – The Obscure Logic of the Heart – Priya Basil

October 19, 2011

The obscure Logic of the Heart is a book about a love affair across a cultural divide. It is about love and religion and how to square the two. It depicts the love affair of two students Anil, a Sikh and Lina from a strict Muslim background. It is set against a background of illegal trade and is a year after 9/11. 

At first Lina is reluctant to pursue the relationship because of her family. Of course a cross culture love story is going to bring comparisons with Romeo and Juliet. The lovers have to hide their affair and the author encourages you to wonder whether their relationship will survive. There are love letters interspersed throughout the book, telling of a love affair that was ended. You are made to wonder who is writing the letters and to believe it must be Anil, who has given up on his love. 
Ultimately I found the way the novel cut back and forwards disorientating. I feel shifts in time and place need to serve a purpose in the novel but here they were just confusing and distanced me from the characters. This was probably also caused by Lina’s character. As a girl from a strict Muslim family I am sure she would be more cautious. She does not seem that interested in Anil to begin with, yet agrees to meet him on her own. 
The writing is beautiful and some of the dialogue sounds authentic. It addresses complex global issues in a sensitive way, showing different viewpoints without becoming preachy. The father daughter relationship in the book was actually the most moving and although you might not agree with the decisions both characters made you can’t help but sympathise with the emotion behind them. 
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book to review as part of the Transworld book challenge. The views are my own. 

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