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's messages ramble on his answering machine when he wants
no one but his one obsession, Richard to call.
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, Alis' story is intertwined with the unraveling of his parents' own doomed relationship and the film music of Bollywood's
eminent singer Lata Mangeshkar (Diva of Indian film music and the namesake of the book's title). And it is this
hopelessly romantic music that scores their tormented lives and goads them to pursue love through chaos and ecstasy.