Original title: Lalita
Author: Marie-Thérèse Schmitz

The narrator of this marvellous and delicate story is Benu, a young Indian man who reminisces about his childhood in a family of miniaturists. His father was a famous miniaturist who also taught foreign and Indian students. One of them, a French student called Nadège, falls in love with an Indian artist called Prakash. She invites Prakash, Benu and his father to Paris, where the father becomes transfixed by Lalita, a young actress he discovers in a cinema.

Back in India, the father succumbs to amnesia and Benu tries to help him by trying to track down Lalita in Mumbai, where a now famous Prakash and Nadège live together. Benu falls in love with Lalita and moves in with her, becoming her private painter, confidant and adviser. Thus he discovers why his amnesic father remembers that face, and the secret that binds them.

Lalita is told in a trance-like writing that transports the reader in an unforgettable manner. Prakash and Nadège are people of the 21st century in a crowded city, but their lives are regulated by immemorial mechanisms. Benu, as a  spectator and narrator, plays with the stories, modifies them according to the listener, redraws them as the good miniaturist he is –with the truth of appearances.

Original language

FRENCH | 11-13 Éditions

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