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The Obscure Logic of the Heart

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A devoted Muslim daughter, a secret relationship, an impossible dilemma...

Lina Merali has always been the apple of her father's eye. When she meets Anil Mayur, a wealthy, cultured and decidedly liberal student of architecture from Kenya's Asian community, the intensity of her feelings for someone so different takes her by surprise. She is political and he is not; she is
Paperback, 416 pages
Published 2010 by Doubleday
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  151 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
If your entire cast of characters wants to smack the heroine for being a silly cow and fucking everyone over, why on earth would you think people would want to read about her?

I read this in one night*, in an attempt to reach the point where the aforementioned heroine stop being so goddamn wishy-washy and ruining everything. Spoiler; she never did.

*(It only took about two hours. This was not a big deal; don't take it as a compliment towards the book).
The title itself says it, obscure. logic and love both. The description on back jacket was very inviting; Kenya, politics, love story of a Muslim and a non-muslim, some explosive confrontations with the family. But I kind of lost my way and my interest pretty soon.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite Lina being in love with Anil, and their religious differences being a huge hindrance to their relationship, she ends up punishing him for his father's sins, at the great expense to her own emotions.
In the end, it never really was about religion because if God is love, why act in a contradictory manner, then end up risking your faith? Didn't it ever occur to Lina's father that sometimes God's will is what's closest to the heart?

All in all, it was so traumatizing to watch Lina sabotage
Dora Okeyo
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's taken me over two months to come to terms with Anil and Lina's love story. I followed them from London, to Nairobi and Juba and then back up until I couldn't take the uncertainty anymore.
The author drew a picture of Nairobi and Sudan, that it took me along the streets I never thought I'd come across in a book.
I wonder, did the author also plan to have their names synchronized? For Anil is Lina spelled backwards.
One wonders what we would do without Shakespeare and his Romeo and Juliet... presumably someone else would have to describe this oh so common phenomenon. Here we have a Muslim woman and a Sikh... although he does seem quite oblivious to her true situation and needs which does not make her situation easier. An interesting read.
This is a love story about Lina and Anil, whose relationship faces many pressures from the outside world. Lina comes from a devout Muslim family who would never allow their daughter to be with a man who does not practice the same religion. As a result of this, Lina keeps her relationship with Anil a secret from her parents for many years. She is forced to lie to them over and over again throughout these years and the guilt tears her apart. However, one day Linas mother finds a large number of ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: british-modern
I actually bought this book because of the great reviews it received, but ultimately I was really disappointed.

There are several reasons for that:

1. Lina and Anil are sadly undeveloped. Lina (female protagonist - young, Indian, muslim woman living in the UK) is - of course - beautiful, everybody falls in love with her, while she lands a great job at the UN. I didn't find her believable or interesting. Anil (male protagonist - young, Indian, sikh, living in London after having spent his childhood
David Hebblethwaite
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
They meet at university in London: Anil Mayur is the non-religious son of a wealthy Sikh family from Kenya; his ambition is to be an architect, rather than to take over his fathers business empire. Lina Merali is the daughter of a devout Muslim family from Birmingham, and interested in humanitarian issues. Whatever their differences, these two fall in love; they try their best to keep it a secret, but that cant last and life gets only more difficult as the years go by.

What makes Priya Basils
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anil and Lina meet at University in London. He feels an immediate and strong attraction to her, and enlists his friends to help him meet her. His family lives in Kenya and is Sikh, and her family lives in Birmingham and are Muslim. He has enjoyed a life of having it all, wanting for nothing. His wealthy parents home in Kenya is referred to as a palace. Linas family home is much more modest. As their relationship develops, Anil introduces Lina to his world, to the art he admires, and she learns ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received from and reviewed for Transworld Books

When Anil and Lina meet in London as students, they are immediately attracted to each other, and very slowly they get closer and start a relationship. From the start though their love affair is plagued with trouble. Lina is a Muslim from a religious family, whereas Anil is a non-practising Sikh, originally from Kenya.
Because Lina expects strong objections from her family, she keeps the relationship a secret, but even once they are found out and her
Ross-Barry Finlayson.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good book to read while relaxing with a cup-of-coffee. Priya Basil wrote this in such a way as to allow the reader to gain an insight into religious beliefs.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The publishers have been marketing this story as 'Romeo and Juliet for the 21st century', so it wouldn't be unfair to expect a love story with some tragedy.
I wasn't disappointed, but although the story of Anil and Lina's relationship is the main theme to the novel, there is so much more than this. It is a complex novel, comprising of many different themes, from the illicit love affair between a Muslim and a Sikh, to the illegal arms trade in Kenya.
Anil and Lina are two young people who meet at
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jo Barton
Whilst studying in London, Anil and Lina meet and fall in love. Yet they come from very different backgrounds; Anil is a non-practising Sikh from a wealth Kenyan family, and Lina is a devout Muslim from a middle class family in Birmingham. Linas parents want her to marry a Muslim man of their choosing and as a result Anil and Lina are destined to keep their love secret, as predictably fate conspires against them. Theoretically good, the novel encompasses a whole range of conflict, not just the ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm way more bothered by ok books than ok movies because so much more time is invested into them! This was an interesting story, but if you don't know anything about Eastern religions like Islam, Sikhism, etc. you'll get plenty of chance to research because this book doesn't explain much. Its obviously aimed at readers who already have a fair base knowledge. I also didn't believe the main love story. I can understand why the guy likes the girl (sweet, pretty, interesting, smart, etc.) But why on ...more
seanat (elka)
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
'Im part of the Transworld Book Group!

The new Romeo and Juliet for the modern age? This had all the right ingredients but strangely it didn't quite hit the mark for me.
I am not a big romance reader - far too cynical perhaps - so it's ironic in a way that it is in that department that I found this book to be disappointing.
The two main protagonists Anil and Lina are star crossed lovers kept apart by their religions , he is a sikh and she is muslim but personally I found the romance a bit
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: priya-basil
I received this book as part of The Transworld Book Group challenge and I'm very happy to be part of it.

This is ultimately a love story about two people from different backgrounds, Lina and Anil the love they have for each other and how their relationship is tested and also forbidden.

The novel addresses political issues and deals with terrorism, arms trade and religion in a delicate way and is cleverly intertwined around Lina and Anil.

The authors descriptions of Sudan were beautifully written
Adam Darling
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing

I couldn't put down this book. Two powerful and timeless love stories unfold alongside a very contemporary account of the illegal arms trade and its effects in places such as South Sudan.

The book manages to portray Islam very sympathetically. I have never read a better account of a devout Muslim who sticks to his beliefs without turning into a monster. At the same time, there are characters who are very astutely critical of religion in general. This mixture works really well, providing
Joy Mueni
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books that I have read. The story is heart wrenching as issues of love and religion are wont to be. Lina's conflict is apparent and with today's world, a true reflection of the cost of love. As the writer notes, "it is god's will" are very emotive words that defy logic yet at the same time, provide answers where all else fails. The characters are very strong and well established throughout the story. The Kenyan sheng just seals it for me. The matatu culture, so aptly ...more
Clare Smith
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A mesmerizing read, a truly wonderful book. I was totally in love with The Obscure Logic of the Heart from the very beginning to the fantastic, unexpected, deeply moving ending! It is much more than a poignant romance (which it is too). A warm, witty, and enthralling story about a young couple, who would be a perfect match, if well, I wont spoil your pleasure. ...more
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
What starts out as a simple college romance goes through twists and troughs, detailing the lives of the key players. Is their love enough, are they just too different, and can they find happiness with each other, or settle for happiness apart from each other? There is really no simple answer, as with all relationships.......
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well worth reading. Cross cultural, cross religious love. Issues about Aid, relief, corruption. Love of family vs lover. Really interesting perspective.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Oh my god, please STOP MAKING CIVIL WARS IN AFRICA THE DREAMY BACKGROUND TO YOUR FIRST WORLD LOVE STORIES. Yes, even if you are a brown person writing about brown Muslims. NO EXCUSE.
Sam The Bookie
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This a vivid, inspiring book with so many variable themes from architecture to politics to religion, so seamlessly woven into a plot of difficult love. Unputdownable! I read it in two days.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The dilemma of Religion and Love...Absolutely compelling!
Jessica Smith
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
One of the worst books I ever read. Annoying characters, incoherent plot, you name it.
The message sought to be sent is clear, if it's not meant to be, then it's not meant to be.
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Priya grew up in Kenya, returning to the UK to study English Literature at the University of Bristol. She had a career in advertising before becoming a full time writer. In 2010 Priya, and the journalist Matthias Fredrich-Auf der Horst, initiated Authors for Peace. It is intended to be a platform from which writers can actively use literature in different ways to promote peace. The first event by ...more

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