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Posted May 23, 2008
'Love Marriage' is a generational saga of a Sri Lankan family, which includes a member of the Tamil Tigers, as well as an exploration of the many types of marriage that are possible, including the titular Love Marriage. The narrator, Yalini, is the child of parents who forged a Love Marriage, contrary to their culture's traditions of arranged marriage. Her parents meet in America, where Yalini is born, far from the growing conflicts between Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups in Sri Lanka. The war comes home to Yalini, however, when her uncle, a famed Tamil Tiger, comes to them in his last days of life. As he tells Yalini his story she is drawn into the world she never knew firsthand. The writing style is flowing and captivating. An unfortunate flaw is that in trying to tell so many stories-- those of the family, the marriages, and the country-- the novel never seems to quite settle into one and completely explore it which leaves the reader feeling somewhat hungry to go a bit deeper. However the flow of the narrative and the historical backdrop serve to keep the novel interesting and worthwhile.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 11, 2008
Yalini, the protagonist of this novel, is the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants. Her parents left their collapsing country behind to find a new world in the United States. That world remains elusive to Yalini who finds herself caught between the traditions of her ancestors and the lure of the modern world. The secrets of Sri Lankan's history and her family's past come head to head when she is summoned to Toronto to help care for her dying uncle, Kumaran. A former member of the militant Tamil Tigers, he is allowed to leave the ranks after being diagnosed wirh cancer. The dark truths about Kumaran's past unravel gradually and Yalini soon learns: 'It would be false to say that there is a beginning to the story, or a middle or an end. Those words have a tidiness that does not belong here. Our lives are not clean.' Confronted with this reality, Yalini starts tracing her family's roots - and the conflicts facing them as ethnic Tamils - through a series of marriages. As Kumaran's death and his daughter's politically motivated nuptials edge closer, Yalini realises that violence is not only a part of her family's Sri Lankan past, but also very much a part of her Western present. The book was written as asenior thesis and, instead of a straight narrative, it is presented in the form of vignettes. A series of many short extracts appears as fragmented parts of the whole. This means the novel falters in parts. Often one little extract doesn't quite lead into another, tempting you to skip to the next part of the book. But Love Marriage does provide rare insights into the 25-year-old conflict that has wrecked parts of the island paradise of Sri Lanka.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.