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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written
As someone who is not a fan of love stories, this novel really struck home. Priya Basil writes in a way which completely absorbs you into her words and explains the complexities and difficulties of forbidden love in a beautiful way. I was left really feeling for the characters of Anil and Lina, and I'm sure this book will stay in my heart for a long time.
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by Book.Nerd89

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
What happens when two people from very different backgrounds meet and fall in love? Anil is from a wealthy Sikh family whose home is in Nairobi whilst Lina is from a close, middle class Muslim family living in Birmingham.

They meet whilst at London University, a temporary equaliser, where Anil is studying architecture and Lina is studying law. It is already...
Published 19 months ago by Scholastica


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more than just a love story, 4 Dec 2011
By 
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Anil comes from a wealthy and liberal Sikh family; his background seems a world away from Lina's devout Muslim upbringing, but that doesn't stop them falling in love.

Although we know from the start of the novel that this love took place some time in the past, the reader is still drawn into the story of their love affair and the obstacles placed in their way by family and friends on both sides. Running alongside Lina & Anil's story is a second story of another cross-cultural romance, and parallels between them provided added depth and interest.

The love story is beautifully told; however, the book is much more than that. The author has messages for us about religion and tolerance, the obligations that the love of family and friends place on us, and the dangers of guns and violence. All set against wonderful landscapes of Kenya and Sudan, and the metropolitan bustle of New York.

I have read and reviewed this novel as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, 12 Oct 2011
As someone who is not a fan of love stories, this novel really struck home. Priya Basil writes in a way which completely absorbs you into her words and explains the complexities and difficulties of forbidden love in a beautiful way. I was left really feeling for the characters of Anil and Lina, and I'm sure this book will stay in my heart for a long time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of love and diversity, 10 Aug 2011
Quite simply, I couldn't put this down. It starts with a meeting of two people who we know had previously been in a relationship but haven't seen each other in years. The novel unfolds their relationship and the difficulties they faced.

Lina, is from a strict Muslim background and falls in love with Alin, who is Sikh. This is a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, her parents forbid the relationship but yet their passion and love is strong. Both characters are very believable but they have many objections to their relationship, including from Alin's best friend, Merc. The book is beautifully written and I loved the vivid descriptions of Kenya and Sudan, where both characters live and work at various points in the novel.

This novel also address global and political issues, it set about a year after 9/11 so shows how people view Islam after the terrorist attacks and it also deals with the illegal Arms trade. The narrtive is interesting as well, as well as the background story, the novel also has many letters and it is not revealed until the end who was writing them.

This is a sensitive portrayal, you feel empathy for the main characters and the family members, all torn with their own beliefs and emotions.

I have read this as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading challenege and I am very grateful since this has introduced me to a new author and I would definitely look out for more in the future - highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning, 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Obscure Logic of the Heart (Paperback)
"Religion and logic don't mix. They're like oil and water. However much you try shaking them about together, they separate eventually; the oil spreading over the water, the way faith does over reason, asphyxiating it" - this is only one of many thought-provoking sayings you will find in "The Obscure Logic of the Heart", written by the British author Priya Basil, who was already nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award with her first novel "Ishq and Mushq" (meaning as much as "Love and Smell").
The romantic novel "The Obscure Logic of the Heart" deals with the relationship between the Muslim Lina Merali who is of humble origin and the wealthy Anil Mayur from Kenya. Although they are totally different in many ways, they love each other implicitly, but however turbulent their love is, it is also connected with many problems like keeping secrets for years from Lina's deeply religious Muslim family, who wouldn't even think of having a non-Muslim son-in-law or the conflict with illegal arms trade in which Anil's dad is the leading figure.
The reader is faced with suspense which occurs throughout the whole book and is amongst other things created by the different points of view, whereby the characters are very well defined and it is very easy to picture them in your mind. Lina's indecisive and inconsistent behavior makes it hard for Anil to find the right solution to satisfy everybody and in the end everything turns out to be different from what they had expected.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!, 7 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Obscure Logic of the Heart (Paperback)
We've read the novel "The Obscure Logic of the Heart" in my English class in school. Although I'm from Germany it wasn't too hard to understand. This love story deals with two protagonists belonging to different religions. Lina, the young woman, is a Muslim and her boyfriend Anil is a member of Sikhism. The novel is about the love between Lina and Anil, a love extremely forbidden by Lina's parents. Even Anil's best friend Merc tries to prevent Anil from dating Lina. In some situations the young couple has to break up. But Lina and Anil always try to find a way back to each other. Beside the action just mentioned a second parallel story happens. It is a similar love story to the first one and the reader waits to understand the connection between both. This creates tension until the end of the novel and makes the story so interesting.
I recommend reading it because you learn a lot about religion and tolerance, about love and money, about guns and violence, about friendship and family. You won't regret this reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight to a religion so mysterious -Don't miss out!!, 6 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Obscure Logic of the Heart (Paperback)
The modern world with its advantages and disadvantages is in the spotlight.
The second novel by Priya Basil who was born in London and grew up in Kenya tells the story of a Muslim daughter, Lina, who fell in love with a Sikh student of architecture , Anil. The Islamic guidelines and a heart's decisions intersect at a lot of points throughout the book. Lina and Anil go through a lot of pain but seem to always find the way back to each other.
Beside describing the difficulties of a lovestory in the modern world, Priya also critizes the arms trade in Africa. Either way, this book is very interesting and realistic. The language used by Priya is very vivid and not difficult to understand for non-native speakers.
The beginning of the book didn't fascinate me as much as the middle and ending did. I believe that's the way every book is constructed but I felt that this book took me longer to get into than others. I must admit that I had to read this book for my advanced course in school within a month which, however, did not influence my opinion. I really liked the book and I would recommend it to people who are interested in Islam and Sikhism but also to people who like a lovestory a little more complicated than others.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, compelling, exciting! - You will miss something if you don't read this book!, 5 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Obscure Logic of the Heart (Paperback)
Priya Basils "The Obscure Logic of the Heart" is one of the most interesting books about the conflict between Islam and love I've ever read!
We started to read it in school with the expectations of a typical school reading but it wasn't.
When we first started reading it, I couldn't stop myself going on!
Priya Basil managed to describe the distinctions between the different worlds of the main characters Lina and Anil realistically and credibly.
The reader is torn between the comprehension to Linas religious priorities and Anils continual desire for Linas proximity and love.
"The Obscure Logic of the Heart" is not only a love story but also a story about religion, family and friends.
Until the end Priya creates tension especially with the letters lying inbetween the stories. They leave the reader dark about the questions: Who wrote them and whose story is told in those letters?
Even the unexpected ending leaves space for creativity and lets the reader pursue the story in his thoughts.
I really enjoyed reading "The Obscure Logic of the Heart" and would recommend it to everyone who is interested in a love story including the accomplished combination of conflicts, lovelorn and reconciliation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bollywood Read! Intense yet intelligent!!, 15 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Obscure Logic of the Heart (Paperback)
The Obscure Logic of the Heart
I read Priya Basil's Ishq and Mushq and knew that she was a good writer who could create astounding scenes that projected themselves in front of our eyes. It was then logical for me to go for her next novel The Obscure Logic of the Heart. The front cover was quiet intriguing with a half of a face of a pretty woman and a shadow of man in the background. The readers could guess that this book was going to be a love story.

The two main characters are very well sketched and the readers start feeling with them from the very begining. The lifes and the loves of the heroine Lina and the hero Anil of the story are interwined cleverly with the more complex issues of illegal arm trade, Islam religion and interreligion marriages. The story is set in countries like London UK, New York USA, Kenya etc. On these varied platforms the play of emotions perform their best.

Priya has used letters written by a woman to a man to tell the story, a very unexpected technique for a love story I must say. As the readers read the letters, they are subtly made aware of the true nature of the main characters. They get glimpses of the strength behind the apparent weeknesses of the characters.
The scenes, especially the one where Lina and Anil are out with there friends and they meeet a rude gang and their confrontation reminds one of a scene from a Bollywood movie. Priya has created a world away from the usual world where the readers loose themselves in the heart warming story of these lovers.

As is expected in a love story there are oppositions but these are not always via a person, here in this story the strongest villian lies inside the hearts of the characters. The push and pull of the heart strings within each characters creates an intense pool of emotions and the readers are left speechless.

A must read for all as it touches the heart, the mind and in some beautiful instances the soul of a reader.

Smita Singh
VAANI
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 18 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Obscure Logic of the Heart (Paperback)
What happens when two people from very different backgrounds meet and fall in love? Anil is from a wealthy Sikh family whose home is in Nairobi whilst Lina is from a close, middle class Muslim family living in Birmingham.

They meet whilst at London University, a temporary equaliser, where Anil is studying architecture and Lina is studying law. It is already known that Lina is expected to marry a Muslim, so she knows from day one that there are difficulties in her path. Anil, on the other hand, only knows wealth, privilege and getting his own way. This novel charts the rocky moral maze of love versus expectations.

Did I enjoy it? Yes and no. Anil is handsome and Lina is pretty, we're always told what they are wearing. It's not mentioned but I'm sure they both had perfect white teeth too - all far too reminiscent of a Mills and Boon hero and heroine, which I found rather offputting. Extended parts of this book are set in Nairobi and war torn Southern Sudan and I really didn't feel the African heat or the African chaos. This was a disappointment as it was part of the reason for choosing the book.

On the plus side, the author puts Lina in increasingly difficult postions where she must do a dance between morality and her heart and this is where the book manages to separate itself from an everyday romance into something that asks bigger questions.

Overall, I feel that this book can be read at two different levels - superficially as a love story and more deeply as a starting point for questions about cultural inheritance, identity and listening to your heart. However, I do think that I would have enjoyed it more had I read it my twenties, when the issues that are addressed were rather more at the forefront of my mind than they are now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Romeo and Juliet for our Times?, 10 Oct 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
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Priya Basil's publishers have marketed this book as 'an epic Romeo and Juliet for the 21st century'. In fact, the factors that keep Lina and Anil, Basil's lovers apart, are more complex than those of warring families, and the lovers rather less innocent than Shakespeare's.

Lina and Anil meet at university in London. Anil is a lapsed Sikh, only son of wealthy parents. His father is a hugely wealthy and successful businessman, his mother a society lady and patron of artists. The family live in Kenya, in a palatial house, with many servants. In London, Anil lives in a huge flat owned by his friend Merc's father, a government minister in Kenya. Anil dreams of becoming a great architect, and due to his father's money is able to launch on his own projects immediately on graduating, rather than joining a firm. Lina, on the other hand, is a practising and devout Muslim, from a modest background. Her Indian parents live in a small house in Birmingham. Her father Shareef is a human rights lawyer, her mother a housewife. Lina, by modern terms, is very strictly brought up; although her parents encourage her in her studies they also urge her to dress modestly, and in London she lives with her aunt rather than in a hall of residence or flat share. Lina is a law student, passionate about human rights and keen to work for an aid organisation or the UN. While Anil believes one can make one's own moral systems, Lina is rigorously moral.

Despite all these differences, Anil and Lina soon fall passionately in love, attracted deeply to each other and also united in their interests in literature, music, art and nature. But Lina knows from the start that the relationship will cause heartbreak - her father strongly wishes her to marry another Muslim and will not accept Anil. And so, when her parents find out about the relationship, it turns out: they forbid her to see Anil again. In desperation, Lina agrees but continues to see Anil secretly. And for years, Anil and Lina carry on a semi-secret affair, hoping somehow to win Lina's family round. But will this ever happen. And, when Lina finds out more about Anil's family, will she really want to throw in her lot with them at the risk of losing her own? Lina and Anil's story is interspersed with passionate letters from 1968, from an English woman to the Muslim lover who deserted her to marry a wife from his own faith. What is the connection with Anil and Lina and will their relationship go the same way? Basil keeps us guessing right until the end of the book.

I didn't much enjoy Priya Basil's first novel 'Ishq and Mushq', apart from the sections involving Nina and Oskar, and was worried I'd feel the same about this novel. In fact I enjoyed it MUCH more: it's very readable, full of fascinating information, and the central theme (lovers kept apart by their different faiths and quality of life) is an interesting one. I liked Lina very much as a character, particularly her moral convictions and her relationship with her father Shareef, and found the sections describing her work with the UN very interesting. I also liked reading about Hans, the sensitive German aid worker who befriends Lina, loves her but will not force his attentions on her, and would have liked to know more about him. There were many beautiful descriptions of Kenya, Sudan and the UK in the novel, and I found the letters from the English woman moving. Basil has many interesting things to say throughout about religious intolerance, different cultural backgrounds and changes in society over the 20th century in Britain and further afield.

My problem with the book is the same as reviewer Elkie Dee - I really didn't like Anil much (at least, not after the early chapters of the book). There were a few moving depictions of his love for Lina (particularly the scene where he pleads with Lina's father to accept him) but for the most part Anil came across increasingly as a spoilt rich boy, constantly pressurising Lina to choose him over her parents, dependent on his father's money (even to the extent of shutting his eyes to why his father was so rich), and trying to bully Lina into doing what he wanted, even down to attending a friend's party. He seemed to believe that he could buy his way out of any problem - not a very attractive character trait. His friends, particularly the loathsome Merc (a nod to Shakespeare's Mercutio in the name?) were even worse - spoilt brattish playboys. I ended up feeling that maybe Lina's father was right (though not for quite the right reasons) and that Lina and Anil WERE incompatible - not, I think, what the author may have intended? This stops me giving the book five stars. Still, I'd very much recommend it as an engrossing picture of society today, with a compelling heroine, and many interesting thoughts on religion, politics and what love means.
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The Obscure Logic of the Heart
The Obscure Logic of the Heart by Priya Basil (Paperback - 10 Jun 2010)
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