Leila by Prayaag Akbar

Leila

Prayaag Akbar

With its atmospheric descriptions of austere walls and severe punishments, this violent Indian story of segregated communities has a chilling air. Shalini is punished for disobeying the rules in the worst way possible when her three year old daughter is taken away from her. Her quest for reunion is truly heartbreaking and, as a mother, I found this tough to read yet strangely addictive too.

Extract

He paused and looked around. 'We must live according to our own great principles. Our history. Why must we live with compromise? Our purity has been perverted over the centuries. Centuries of rule by outsiders have led to spiritual subjugation. But the atrocities of this age can be combatted. They are nothing but a passing phase. Our cultural roots are too firm, struck deeply into the spring of immortality. We will once again find that purity, the purity that comes from order, from respect, from each of us remembering our communities. Our roles. What runs in our blood.'

Parallels
  • Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
  • Slip of a Fish by Amy Arnold
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink