An epic novel of love, loss and a family uprooted, set in the contrasting landscapes of war-torn Sri Lanka and immigrant London. Grace de Silva, wife of the shiftless but charming Aloysius, has five children and a crumbling marriage. Her eldest son, Jacob, wants desperately to go to England. Thornton, the most beautiful of all the children and his ...
An epic novel of love, loss and a family uprooted, set in the contrasting landscapes of war-torn Sri Lanka and immigrant London. Grace de Silva, wife of the shiftless but charming Aloysius, has five children and a crumbling marriage. Her eldest son, Jacob, wants desperately to go to England. Thornton, the most beautiful of all the children and his mother's favourite, dreams of becoming a poet. Alicia wants to be a concert pianist. Only Frieda has no ambition, other than to remain close to her family. But civil unrest is stirring in Sri Lanka and Christopher, the youngest and the rebel of the family, is soon caught up in the tragedy that follows. As the decade unfolds against a backdrop of increasing ethnic violence, Grace watches helplessly as the life she knows begins to crumble. Slowly, this once happy family is torn apart as four of her children each make the decision to leave their home. In London, the de Silvas are all, in their different ways, desperately homesick. Caught in a cultural clash between East and West, life is not as they expected. Only Thornton's daughter, Meeka, moves confidently into a world that is full of possibilities. But nothing is as easy as it seems and she must overcome heartbreak, a terrible mistake and single parenthood before she is finally able to see the extraordinary effects of history on her family's migration.
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-05-25 Like her first novel, Mosquito, Tearne's initially engrossing newest is rooted in strife-torn 20th-century Ceylon/Sri Lanka. This time she tackles a three-generation family saga, the island's independence from Britain and subsequent civil war, with mixed results. By 1939, Aloysius de Silva has gambled away most of wife Grace's inherited wealth, and his recklessness has far-reaching consequences. The appropriately named Grace sits at the heart of the story; equally clear-minded and romantic, she has her hands full with her children: Jacob and Christopher's aspirations are snuffed out by the financial losses; Thornton relies on charm and a winning smile; Alicia is a gifted pianist with big dreams; and quiet Frieda struggles to find an identity for herself in her vivacious family. Later comes Savitha, who marries Thornton and captures Grace's heart. There's much love in this family, and much tragedy around them, but by the time Thornton, Savitha and their daughter, Meeka, follow Thornton's brothers to the U.K., the story becomes a less inspired immigrant story. Tearne describes the beauty and devastation of Sri Lanka with passion and insight, but things quickly get dull in the U.K. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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