The Sandglass tells the story of two feuding families whose lives are interlinked by the changing fortunes of postcolonial Sri Lanka. Moving back and forth between London and Sri Lanka, the novel brings to life Prins Ducal and his search for answers about his family's past, including his father's rise to wealth, rivalry with the Vatunas family, ...
The Sandglass tells the story of two feuding families whose lives are interlinked by the changing fortunes of postcolonial Sri Lanka. Moving back and forth between London and Sri Lanka, the novel brings to life Prins Ducal and his search for answers about his family's past, including his father's rise to wealth, rivalry with the Vatunas family, and a suspicious death - a mystery that further unfolds upon Prins's arrival in London for his mother's funeral. Re-printed by Granta in a beautiful new edition.
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Behind an apparent account of lives of comfortable families in Colombo, there is the brooding presence of religious tensions, ancient jealousies, political machinations and wilfully destructive forces. Family and class differences are well observed through the eyes of a developing, gay, adolescent who also describes normal everyday life. The school, still redolent of the British past ,is convincingly portrayed. The lives of families where servants are the norm is fascinating for us who live without them. The irruption of the brooding outside forces, which destroy the families, are shown with all their cruelties. The dark side of Sri Lanka is revealed to the tourist who dreams only of Serendipity, smiling courtesy and fabulous beaches.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-12-11 Gunesekera's novel of a young houseboy in Sri Lanka was a Booker Prize finalist. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1994-12-19 Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this thoughtful, entrancing tale of a Sinhalese houseboy's maturation takes place in the early 1980s, in the edenic calm before Sri Lanka erupts in violence. Marine biology and native cuisine become metaphors for political and personal change as Gunesekera chronicles the story of Triton, who is 11 years old in 1962, his father an alcoholic, his mother dead, when he comes to the estate of aristocratic bachelor Ranjan Salgado. At first, Triton does odd chores for the houseman and cook, but gradually the clever lad learns all the workings of the household, and he eventually emerges as Salgado's only servant-in the process becoming a skillful and creative cook. Salgado himself is a lonely academic, fascinated with marine life and the evolution of the sea. Triton takes care of his master with an almost parental love, all the while learning about the world from Salgado's conversations and his many books. Ultimately, Triton finds himself living on his own in London, an independent restaurateur, wistfully remembering his homeland in happier times. Gunesekera (Moonfish Moon) brings a moving combination of innocence and wisdom to Triton's first-person narration. His spare, lyrical prose evokes the sensuous heat of the tropical island and conveys mouthwatering descriptions of Triton's many culinary triumphs. And his take on the synergies of politics, nature and personal striving is subtle and intriguing. (Feb.)
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