Leila by Prayaag Akbar; reviewed by Amina Singh
I’d heard about Prayaag Akbars debut novel Leila .. heard it was chilling , heard it was a must read. So I finally got hold of a copy
At first you don’t realise what is in store .. then it creeps up on you till you can’t put it down and your heart is thumping all along .
To say it was disturbing would be benign .. as you read along , you feel this ominous , dark sense of something familiar lurking . Still you keep going till your mind is frantically making frightening comparisons between the words and events in the story and your own world with its various worlds within it.
It’s such a mirror of what we have become as a country and portent of what we are going to become , that it becomes uncomfortable at times. The discomfort is like a warning .. faint at first then louder and more obvious.
Its Orwellian style is a reminder how little can be overlooked as fiction or fantasy anymore .. a story about a mother and her lost daughter is more a reflection of our society , its casteist divisions and taste of things to come . A mirror to the world as it were .. applying to today’s bleak divisive scenario at home and elsewhere as well.
Community and culture take on a whole new meaning .. and not a warm and fuzzy one but a dark and forbidding one.
I’m Amina Singh from New Delhi .. A reader of all kinds of books .. occasionally brain dead only to come up to the surface to read a good one ! I have a varied and eclectic choice, usually fiction .. from bleak Swedish authors to contemporary writers from the sub continent .. with a peppering of lighter reading of all kinds as well.
Artika Aurora Bakshi
Artika Aurora Bakshi is the author of three well-acclaimed children’s books,My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas, My Little Sikh Handbook: Travel Journal, and an anthology of stories, Hold On To Me. Her first story, set in Amritsar, during the pre-Partition period, All She Had Left, was published on Story Mirror.
She co-manages thegoodbookcorner.com, a manuscript help and book review site. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts.
She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master’s degree in International Banking & Finance.
Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika’s articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News, The Ceylon Chronicle, and various blogs, such as, talkingcranes.com, sikhchic.com, sikhnet.com.
She was actively involved with SAARC Women’s Association of Sri Lanka and was President of the Association in 2016.
An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members.
Her quotes are featured under soul.nightingale on Instagram and on Soul Nightingale by Artika Aurora Bakshi on Facebook.
Artika is also working on her fourth children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults.
You can reach Artika at email@example.com .