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In Yalini's world, there are only two kinds of marriage, the Arranged Marriage and the Love Marriage. "Most of us spend years running away from the first toward the second." The American-born daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, Yalini sits in stark contrast between tradition and modernity. With one eye on the increasingly dangerous conflicts and ancestral culture of her parents' homeland, and another on the freedom and temptations of her life in the West, Yalini becomes a touchstone in this moving family story. Not until she's called upon to watch over her dying uncle, a former member of the militant Tamil Tigers, will she find the understanding and connection she craves.
A story of conflict both personal and political, Love Marriage is a deeply resonant first novel. As Yalini converses with her failing uncle, she reaches back through several generations of marriage, and in a series of lyrical vignettes, illuminates the history of its scattered members. She rejects a story with the tidiness of a beginning, middle, and end in favor of one that, while perhaps incomplete and at times contradictory, illustrates that there are many versions of the same story, and that a family's imagination can be as real as its history. An evocative study of duty and conscience, of honor and courage during decades of war and upheaval, Love Marriage is also a wondrously intimate and unforgettably nuanced exploration of family and memory. (Summer 2008 Selection)