In Shyam Selvadurai's masterful second novel, set in repressive and complex 1920s Ceylon, the Cinnamon Gardens is a residential enclave of wealthy Ceylonese. Among them is Annalukshmi, an independent and high-spirited young teacher intent on thwarting her parents' plans to arrange her marriage. In a parallel narrative, her uncle, Balendran ...
In Shyam Selvadurai's masterful second novel, set in repressive and complex 1920s Ceylon, the Cinnamon Gardens is a residential enclave of wealthy Ceylonese. Among them is Annalukshmi, an independent and high-spirited young teacher intent on thwarting her parents' plans to arrange her marriage. In a parallel narrative, her uncle, Balendran Navaratnam, respectably married but secretly homosexual, has his life disrupted by the arrival in Ceylon of Richard, a lover from long ago. 'Richly rewarding ...this is, in many ways, an old-fashioned novel, brimming with old-fashioned virtues. The characters and setting are established in a measured, finely judged manner, allowing us to feel at home with them. Annalukshmi's Jane Austen-ish domestic life -- anxious mother, bossy aunt, catty sisters, endless talk of prospective husbands -- is brought to life with glancing humour. Not least of the novel's virtues is the way he seems to conjure up a whole social panorama. With its vivid evocation of time and place, its wise characterisation, its involving emotional dramas, this is a novel that deserves, and will surely gain, a wide readership' Adam Lively, Sunday Times 'Subtle and deeply humane ...a fine novel that is both delicately written and very, very wise . ..Selvadurai has established himself firmly as an important chronicler of the complexities of social and cultural difference' Books in Canada
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