Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous

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‘Manu Joseph's new novel is a daring, page-turning thriller, filled with anger and wit and some of the loveliest sentences you will read this year’—Zoë Heller

Bold, stylish and deceptively witty, Manu Joseph’s gripping new novel poses searching questions about political forces and religious division—with an ingenious twist. 

On the day that Hindu nationalists and their controversial leader have won a spectacular election victory, a large apartment building collapses in Mumbai. The rescue operation finds a single survivor trapped under a beam.

The only person able to reach him is Akhila Iyer, a medical student who is also a notorious prankster. Crawling through the rubble to administer first aid, she finds him mumbling in delirium that a young Muslim couple are on their way to carry out a terror attack.

Elsewhere, an intelligence agent, Mukundan, is assigned to shadow two terror suspects, one of whom is the teenager Laila, sweetheart of her street. Time is running out and the chase is on…

Pervasive in its comic realism, wicked in its humour and broad-based in its canvas, Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous is a fierce, profound and illuminating portrait of our age of globalisation and populist politics.

The Observer

13 May 2018
Manu Joseph’s third novel, set in the world of Indian politics, police and bureaucracy, is caustic, occasionally comic and determinedly controversial. But there’s a thriller lurking beneath too: a man is found trapped in the rubble of a collapsed Mumbai tower block, whispering about a young Muslim couple about to carry out a terror attack. References are made to the real-life Ishrat Jahan case from 2004, in which a group of “suspected” terrorists were killed by police. Joseph regularly jolts the reader out of his fictional world, though not always successfully, ultimately making the novel easier to admire than to love.
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