Ode to Lata: A Novel

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Really Great Books, 2002 - Fiction - 293 pages
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Banker by day, and denizen of Los Angeles' clubs by night, the protagonist of Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla's first novel is navigating between more than just a day job and an active social life. In Ode to Lata, Ali has left behind a tempestuous childhood in postcolonial Kenya, the overprotective mother who raised him on a steady diet of Hindi cinema, an emotionally abusive bisexual lover, and confused memories of his father's violent death at the hands of his mistress. Now his mother rambles on his answering machine while Ali is lost in his obsession for Richard, his ideal of beauty and "the one" he desperately hopes will help remedy the past. Passionate and unflinchingly honest in its narrative, Ode to Lata scavenges the depths of one man's misguided search for love in a world of emotionally void encounters and tangled memories. All the while, Ali's story is intertwined with the unraveling of his parents' own doomed relationship and the film music of Bollywood's eminent singer Lata Mangeshkar. And it is this hopelessly romantic music that scores their tormented lives and goads them to pursue love through chaos and ecstasy.--From publisher description.

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Ali is a fairly complex bundle of doubts and neuroses. A native of Kenya but of Indian heritage, he is a banker making a decent living in Los Angeles but also a gay man stumbling through a variety of ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

GHALIB SHIRAZ DHALLA is a a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has been honored at MIT, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Yale Master's Tea. Dhalla's critically- acclaimed debut novel Ode to Lata was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "an achievement." His second novel, The Exiles (The Two Krishnas) was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. www.ghalibdhalla.com

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