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Leela's Book: A Novel Paperback – January 7, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A big, sprawling tale centered on a wedding that brings two families together, Albinia’s second novel is inspired by theMahabharata, the classic Indian epic. The epic’s narrator, the god Ganesh, tells of two sisters, Leela and Meera, who have reincarnated together throughout the ages. In this current iteration, Meera married a vain scholar, Vyasa, who published her poetry after her death. Leela, estranged from Meera after her marriage to Vyasa, married Hari, a wealthy businessman, and fled India for New York. Now, 25 years later, the marriage of Meera and Vyasa’s son, Ash, to Hari’s niece, Sunita, brings Leela reluctantly back to India, much to the delight of Vyasa, who has secretly been carrying a torch for Leela. The reunion forces Leela to confront not only the reason behind her estrangement from Meera but also a long-held secret. And Leela’s not the only one with a secret: Ash has feelings for someone other than his bride, while Sunita’s father commits a heinous act after the wedding. An enticing tale filled with colorful characters and surprising twists. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Bold, playful, smart and lively.” (Time Out)

“This is steeped in the tradition of the Indian epic, yet modern and vastly entertaining.” (The Times)

“A talent to watch.” (Daily Mail)

“Imagine all the drama, sexual intrigue, and familial discord of the ancient Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, retold in modern times with a satirical twist . . . a compelling and wildly entertaining tale unfolds.” (Lizzie Crocker - Daily Beast)

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.” (The Guardian)

“Starred review. Albinia handles the complex plot and many diverse characters she has created with skill and humor while at the same time offering an insightful look at the sociopolitical complexity of present-day India. A remarkable debut novel.” (Library Journal)

“A bold and delightful novel, executed with energy and flair... Albinia has pulled off the remarkable trick of melding a story about modern family ties with a timeless tale about gods and avatars. 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... The result is magnificent.” (Financial Times Weekend)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780393343939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393343939
  • ASIN: 0393343936
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Last year I read The White Tiger and enjoyed it, and so I was inclined to try another book set in India. I could not have made a better choice. Leela's Book is both entertaining and enlightening: entertaining because the characters and their secrets kept me engaged throughout; and enlightening because Albinia effortlessly weaves both a biting social commentary about India's current politics and society, along with an education on an ancient Sanskrit epic, about which I knew nothing. Her prose is lovely and the story very well-paced. What a rare event it is to read for the pleasure of the story and to walk away smarter as well. I highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't believe the description Amazon supplies. There is a god who narrates small portions of the book, but he is not a controlling or manipulating force. This is novel about modern India and the force that the past exerts on it. The prose is beautiful and a joy to read. The plot, though far fetched, is very entertaining. I found the ending perfectly crafted. It is by far the best novel I have read this year.
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Format: Hardcover
I am shocked at the 5 star ratings. I did a LOT of skimming in this book. Too much yadda, yadda about Hindu gods, India, etc. (This sounds so politically incorrect). None of this added to the aura of the book. Liked, didn't like. Glad it was a library book and did not purchase. Overall, I was disappointed, thought the book would be much better than it was. Get the book from the library, do not purchase.
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