This blog is about my daughter-in-law’s new book. She wrote one before about her travels in Pakistan called Empires of the Indus, which was thrilling if a little scary to read – luckily we all knew she had got back safely! Her latest publication is a novel set in Delhi and is about the latest avatars (don’t know what that is? – Hindu Mythology it is a physical manifestation of an entity or person, often a deity) of the characters Leela and Meera who are linked by their destiny to each other, their first appearance is in the great epic Mahabharata. Leela’s Book, Alice’s novel bring the characters and their associates to 21st Delhi and through various settings and adventures resolves their reincarnation.
What is wonderful about this book is the way in which Alice has created and brought to life modern Delhi: its juxtaposition of wealth and poverty; Muslim and Hindu; myth and reality in a complex and vivid story of tremendous verve and brilliance. You can feel the heat, smells and people all crowding round you as you read. It is full of an Indian whimsicality and it is laced as well with the terrible dichotomy of city life in all its small tragedies and triumphs, a city where the open sewer runs right past the gate of the rich man’s mansion.