Title : Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous
Author : Manu Joseph
Publisher : Harpercollins India
Pages : 216
ISBN : 13-9789352770441
On the day that Hindu nationalists have won a spectacular election victory, a building collapses in Mumbai. The rescue operation finds a single survivor in the debris. The only person able to reach him is Akhila Iyer, a medical student who is also a notorious social media prankster. She finds him mumbling in delirium that two people are on their way to carry out a terror attack. Elsewhere, a young intelligence agent, Mukundan, is assigned to shadow the two terror suspects
Man, was this book hard to review! Honestly, this is my very first Manu Joseph book so I had little to no idea what it had in store for me. The blurb sounded super interesting and it read “thriller”. That one word was enticing enough to pull me in and I let it.
Now getting back to the review, I must accept the fact that I have always been vocally apolitical. But I know how important this subject is, so I have never been ignorant. This book claims to be a work of fiction but truly, it is only a figment of it for most of the part is hugely based on real life events and persons. While some might find this book highly offensive (which is obvious, given Joseph’s strong political views), others might enjoy this fiercely. To decide on which end of the bargain would I land up on, I had to rack my brains for quite a while. Now that I have been through it, I think its safe to say that the reading experience was quite enjoyable if we could put the political bias and thoughts aside.
One of the very shiny aspects of this book are the witty and mind-boggling quotes. Here are some of my favourites :
“Everything that happens in Mumbai has happened before. “
“Hope is a premonition of defeat.”
“There are faces that only an Indian can make. Like that baffled face when he is shocked by the most logical outcome of his actions. He crosses the road like a cow, and is startled by a truck. A vehicle on the road? How? He walks across the railway track, and he finds a train hurtling towards him. A train on a railway track? He is stunned. “
Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous has stunned me in ways that are inarticulate, so I wouldn’t call it entirely disappointing! It reads too easy and the narration is smooth as butter.
Embedded with strong female characters and somewhat dark annotations, it creates an image at par with the likes of a satirical noir. I have rated it 4 🌟
If you are open minded enough, go for it!