Saturday, 24 September 2011
The Obscure Logic Of The Heart by Priya Basil
Basil's book was a great read. I rushed through it as I was so caught up in the story and the characters. What I liked the most about it was that Basil didn't present any simple solutions or any great message of 'love will conquer all'. By allowing us to see the thoughts of all the main characters, we could see that Lina and Anil's relationship was causing pain for all around them. At one point the narrative got to a stage where there was no longer any decision that Lina could make that could fix everything, and that seemed realistic. It was therefore an in-depth look at the issue and I found it affecting. Even though I couldn't understand the attitude of Lina's parents, not being religious myself, I felt for them as their relationship with their daughter deteriorated.
I also enjoyed the selection of letters interspersed with the main story, about a relationship between a Muslim man and white British woman during the 1960s. I was naturally curious as to how Basil would tie them to the main narrative and thought she did so in a touching way that made the actions of certain characters a lot more understandable. The writing in these letters, and in the main story to a lesser extent, was lyrical. Basil wrote the conflicts within Lina's family especially well, and the dialogue between Lina and her father at certain points was very powerful.
The backdrop of Lina's work with the UN in Sudan and the illegal arms trade from Kenya was interesting too. At one point near the end of the story, Lina comes to realise that personal suffering can overwhelm concern for any global issue, and I think that is true. This section of the story also concentrated on the role of our principles in our decisions. If you love someone, can you still be with them if their family is involved in something morally repungnant?
I haven't any major criticisms to make of The Obscure Logic of the Heart. It wasn't a happy book, but it wasn't exactly a sad book either. I found it to be thoughtful and powerful, and a good take on the conflicts that can arise between religion, family and personal choice.
Verdict: A powerful examination on love between people of two different religions.
Source: Transworld Book Group Challenge
Score: 4 out of 5