After just a few pages it becomes clear that this story will end badly. In part it is an account of the descent of a young woman, the Lea of the title, into madness and eventual suicide. It is also about the inability of her father, Martijn van Vliet, to do anything to save her. Indeed, his embezzlement of university research funds to buy his daughter an extortionately expensive violin causes his own tragedy as well as hers.
This longish novella raises questions about the extent to which we are able to be authors of our own fortune. Chance plays a large role in the events the story describes, but the book does also concede the possibility of some degree of choice when it comes to how we actually react to chance events. It also thematizes the subject of alienation, the difficulty of really connecting to those we should be closest to.
Lea is a fluent and well-constructed book with a multi-cultural background and many interesting ideas and influences. An absorbing, thoughtful read.