Leela - alluring, taciturn, haunted - is moving back to Delhi after years of exile in New York. She knows her return will disrupt precariously balanced lives. Twenty years ago her sister Meera died, taking a devastating secret with her. Now, as the family gathers for a wedding, Leela must sift truth from fiction.
Meanwhile the bride's father plots political conquest, the groom realises that he has fallen in love with his brother-in-law to be, and Ganesh - elephant-headed god and scribe of India's great epic, the Mahabharata - claims both Leela and the novel as his own creation.
Brilliantly playful and entertaining, Leela's Book weaves a poignant tale of contemporary life in an ancient city.
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A bold and delightful novel, executed with energy and flair... Leela's Book is as much a meditation on tensions between brothers and sisters, or between parents and their children, as it is a rumination on the nature of storytelling. For a novel so thick in plot, and so lush with details of Indian life, it reads effortlessly. The result is magnificent - Financial Times
Leela's Book is a stimulating novel in which Albinia skilfully manages an intricate plot and an enormous, diverse cast of characters. Her immense historical acumen and sophisticated sense of culture have enabled her to craft a powerful tale - Guardian
This is steeped in the tradition of the Indian epic, yet modern and vastly entertaining - The Times
Bold, playful, smart and lively - Time Out
An epic, polyphonic juggernaut of a novel. Ambitious, skilfully plotted, and full of wonderful surprises. I was hooked from the very first page -
A compelling tale that weaves together the profound and the playful, the modern and the traditional, the secular and the mythological - all the strands that make up today's India -
Alice Albinia writes with tender acuity, and without illusions, of her characters' foibles. She brings that same unsparing, illuminating gaze to bear upon Delhi and India in this wise and lovely novel -
A talent to look out for - Daily Mail
About the Author
Born in 1976, Alice Albinia read English Literature at Cambridge, and South Asian History at SOAS. In between, she worked for two years in Delhi as a journalist and editor. Her previous book, Empires of the Indus, won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Authors' Club Dolman Travel Award and the Jerwood/Royal Society of Literature Prize.