Leila by Prayaag Akbar


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.


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.'

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

Books with similar mood

Walking Wounded

Sheila Llewellyn

Jakob's Colours

Lindsay Hawdon

Go, Went, Gone

Jenny Erpenbeck

A History of Loneliness

John Boyne


Murray Davies


Nicole Dennis-Benn

Darkness and Company

Sigitas Parulskis

When I Hit You

Meena Kandasamy

The Daylight Gate

Jeanette Winterson


Michele Roberts

How the Trouble Started

Robert Williams

The Emperor of Lies

Steve Sem-Sandberg

Whatever You Love

Louise Doughty

The Hanging Shed

Gordon Ferris

Song for Night

Chris Abani

The Attack

Yasmina Khadra


Mia Gallagher

A Summer of Murder

Oliver Bottini

Yuki Means Happiness

Alison Jean Lester

An Honorable Man

Paul Vidich

Beside Myself

Ann Morgan


Adrian Barnes

Sea of Poppies

Amitav Ghosh

The Shadow Walker

Michael Walters

Fires in the Dark

Louise Doughty

The Concrete Sea

John Dalton

What Belongs to You

Garth Greenwell

News from Berlin

Otto de Kat

The Book of Gold Leaves

Mirza Waheed


J M Ledgard


Sofi Oksanen


Nell Leyshon

When I Forgot

Elina Hirvonen

The Fountain at the Centre of the World

Robert Newman

Mercy Among the Children

David Adams Richards

A Mouthful of Glass

Henk van Woerden


Oisin Fagan

Out of the Rabbit Hutch

Nanette L Avery

War and Turpentine

Stefan Hertmans


Jason Donald

Here Comes the Sun

Nicole Dennis-Benn


Kerry Hudson

The Crooked Maid

Dan Vyleta

The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma

The Children's Book

A S Byatt

Cradle Song

Robert Edric

The Leader of the Swans

Linda Welch

The Catastrophist

Ronan Bennett

Star of the North

D B John