The Madwoman of Jogare (HarperCollins India, 1998) is set in Karjat, West India. It takes place across three monsoon seasons. It explores the primacy of the soil and the unreasonable emotions it arouses. The book focuses on the life of a young painter and her eccentric orchid-growing Muslim family. The local villagers, Hindu and tribal, are main characters in the story, as are a confused American scholar and an earnest British development worker. There are also arrivals from the city, who threaten to destroy the landscape and pollute the river. The book begins and ends with the local madwoman, who foretells the monsoon each year.
The novel was internationally reviewed. It was on bestseller lists in India for months. It was short-listed for the Crossword Prize. It was widely reviewed and acclaimed. It has been required reading for college students studying postcolonial literature and South Asian literature, at Clark University in Massachusetts, Cornell University, and several other US universities. Sohaila has been a visiting lecturer at Clark, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Northwestern University in Chicago.