Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: The Obscure Logic of the Heart

The Obscure Logic of the Heart’ is truly one of the most fine and splendid book that I have read in recent times. The book is so wonderfully written and every character in the book well defined. The story though a bit slow paced  manages to keep you engaged till the very end. By the time the book ends you feel sad that the book is over!

The Obscure Logic of the Heart’ interleaves two narratives one which is the modern day story of Anil and Lina while the other is a story of an unfulfilled romance between a British woman and a man who she loved but who left her because they belonged to different faiths. The story that runs parallel to the Anil and Lina’s story, though years back, is still so relevant to the choices they make today. Both the stories beautifully and effortlessly merge at the end of the book almost leaving the reader breathless!

The plot is ordinary but Basil’s writing makes the book and the story absolutely extraordinary. This book is a story of love between Lina Merali, who is a Muslim and Anil Mayur a Hindu. Lina comes from a modest background and her parents are devout Muslims living in Birmingham while Anil comes from a very affluent family based in Kenya. Their worlds are far apart from each other but their love is so strong that they believe that they will be able to surpass all troubles that come their way. Lina knowing the opposition that she will face if her parents come to know of her blossoming relationship with Anil, engages in an intricate game of deceit with her parents. While her parents are unaware of the relationship Anil’s parents are supportive. But her parents soon discover her web of lies and they threaten to break off all ties with her if she continues her relationship with Anil. She promises them that she will end the relationship and she would marry a person of their choice. Lina soon moves to New York on an assignment with the UN and despite her pledge to her parents she continues her relationship with Anil. When Anil moves back to Kenya she takes up a posting in Sudan to be closer to Anil. While there, she discovers a few aspects of Anil’s family that make her uncomfortable about the fate of the relationship.

Lina tries her best to maintain a balance between her love for her family and her relationship with Anil. She is afraid that her decision to continue her relationship with Anil could have severe repercussions. Lina’s indecisiveness, her feeling of being a misfit in Anil’s family, her apprehensions is beautifully narrated by the writer. At times you feel sorry for Lina and at times you can’t help but get annoyed with her decisions. On the other hand, you have Anil who is totally supportive of Lina’s choices; he is willing to go to any lengths to keep Lina happy. Anil though he has a few shortcomings, is almost a near perfect partner to have.

What stands apart in the book is when Lina meets her father to request him to accept her relationship with Anil and her father Shareef shares with her a secret he has never shared with anyone. The other poignant moments are when Shareef expresses his inability to accept his daughter’s relationship with a non-Muslim and how it goes against his faith and all that he has believed in. Basil manages to portray such a touching father daughter relationship that almost moves you to tears.

The two main characters of the story you can absolutely identify with. There are many times when you will pause during the book and compare the situation with your own experiences. You come across many people in your life but then there are some you instantly connect with. You just know that those are the people who are capable of changing the course of your life. Some stay with you and some move on but not before leaving an impression in your life forever.

The book is beautiful and rich in prose, bold and deeply moving. The story is brilliantly narrated. It has characters that you will remember for days to come. A highly recommended book which you must pick up today, if you haven’t already! This book has to be at the top of your to read list!

About the author:

Priya Basil was born in London and grew up in Kenya. Her first novel, Ishq and Mushq, was longlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, The Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Priya lives in London and Berlin

ISBN: 13 9780385611459


  1. Sounds a very interesting read. Nice review. The father-daughter relationship you mentioned sounds like the beautifully done father-son relationship in the Kite Runner. I think if you can include the publisher and price of the books reviewed, it'll be more helpful to the reader :)

  2. Thank you Ajay for the feedback!I shall make the changes right away!