by Alice Albinia
Bold and entertaining, Leela’s Book weaves a tale of contemporary Delhi that crosses religious and social boundaries. Leela—alluring, taciturn, haunted—is moving from New York back to Delhi, where her return will unsettle precariously balanced lives. Twenty-five years earlier, her sister was seduced by the egotistical Vyasa. Now an eminent Sanskrit scholar, Vyasa is preparing for his son’s marriage. But when Leela arrives, she disrupts the careful choreography of the wedding, with its myriad attendees and their conflicting desires. Gleefully presiding over the drama is Ganesh—divine, elephant-headed scribe of the Mahabharata, India’s great epic. The family may think they have arranged the wedding for their own selfish ends, but according to Ganesh it is he who is directing events—in a bid to save Leela, his beloved heroine, from Vyasa.