Plastic Emotions is an exercise in romantic speculation. Pinto imagines the nature of the relationship that develops between the 29-year‑old Sri Lankan and the ageing pioneer of urban modernism (Le Corbusier). She gives them trysts, meaningful exchanges, a separation and then painful longing, ending only with Le Corbusier’s death in 1965. Pinto luxuriates in their imagined love affair, revelling in the anguish of their estrangement. It’s hard not to be swept away by it all, although she never makes clear exactly how closely she cleaves to real life... The book is most valuable for its portrait of De Silva – a woman so unquestionably intelligent and intriguing that it feels scandalous she should be so little known. Pinto’s prose is a little too prone to starry skies and roses in the hair, with a preponderance of exotic tropes and a sometimes sickly lyricism (“the moon is a silver lozenge on an inky tongue”). But the novel makes clear how the idea of male genius can blot out other kinds of history and legacy. It will make you want to seek out De Silva’s work and remember her name.