Book Review: The Obscure Logic of the Heart by Priya Basil

The Obscure Logic of the Heart by Priya Basil

This was the second book I read for the Transworld Group Reading Challenge. The topic sounded very interesting to me: do you choose love above religion when it comes to finding a partner?

Also, the main characters were Indians living in England and in Kenia, which I found intriguing.

The Obscure Logic of the Heart: What it is about

When Anil, a Kenian of Indian descent, meets Lina, who is English from Indian descent, he pursues her until she gives in and becomes his girlfriend.

But there is a problem, Lina is of Muslim faith and her parents expect her to marry a man that they will introduce to her. Anil, on the other hand, has no faith but his parents are Sikhs.

Lina is prepared to go far to keep her parents ignorant of the illicit relationship with Anil, forcing other people to do the same, even when they feel very uncomfortable about it. But eventually, she will need to make a choice.

Besides the love affair, the book touches on topics such as religion, illegal arms trade, refugee camps, rich versus modest living, friendship, corruption, etc.

The Obscure Logic of the Heart: What I thought

The further I got with this book, the more I wanted to keep reading. The beginning was a bit so-so for me, and in hind-sight, I don’t know how necessary that chapter was.

It’s a kind of prelude in which Anil and Lina meet up in a café. I found this somewhat confusing and to me, it wasn’t clear what was the now and what were flashbacks to the past. After a few chapters I started to get into the story and found it very enjoyable.

It was a story that elicited emotions. Not tears or happiness, but a kind of irritation with Lina: I thought it wasn’t right how she kept making promises to Anil and at the same time not want to confront her family with her relationship, keeping all her options open.

It also made me think whether Lina should risk her parents’ ostracising her for ever. The book was very good at making me look at the issue from Lina’s (Muslim) viewpoint.

The book wasn’t overly full of religion. And in the end, you could argue it wasn’t so much religion, but instead, Lina’s parents’ strict adherence to their religion that caused Anil and Lina’s relationship to be under so much strain.

A very good read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

I got this book: from Transworld Publishers (Black Swan) in their Group Reading Challenge

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 512

First published: 2010

Genre: contemporary fiction, literary fiction

I'm Part of the Transworld Book Group!

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

7 Responses to Book Review: The Obscure Logic of the Heart by Priya Basil

  1. Cindy says:

    Nice to read your reviews and catch up again 🙂

  2. Louise says:

    This was my frst book in the challenge, and I liked it, the first few chapters I was little unsure of, but I’mm glad I continued, I liked the letters that were woven throughout 😉

    • Leeswammes says:

      I was the same, Louise, the first few chapters were a bit slow and I wasn’t sure that I was going to like the book.

      I didn’t like the letters *at all*!! 🙂

  3. I love the challenge — v cool! This book sounds good — totally new to me so I’m going to keep an eye out for it!

  4. Uniflame says:

    Oooh it is too bad that the book has so many pages. It does sound so interesting!

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