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Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai
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Cinnamon Gardens (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Shyam Selvadurai

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269None42,142 (3.57)12
Member:wandering_star
Title:Cinnamon Gardens
Authors:Shyam Selvadurai
Info:McClelland & Stewart (1998), Hardcover
Collections:read, not kept, books I have read
Rating:***
Tags:lanka, queer, fiction, previous, not kept, bought in Lanka, read in Lanka, family, family dispute

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Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai (1998)

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middle eastern lit
  goldiebear | Jan 11, 2008 |
Cinnamon Gardens is Shyam Selvadurai’s second novel, set in 1920’s Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka), a country still under British colonial rule. The book narrates one year from the lives of members of a wealthy Tamil family living in Cinnamon Gardens, one of Colombo’s most affluent suburbs. Particularly two of its members: Annalukshmi, a young teacher unsure of whether she is willing to reject all offers of marriage in order to continue in her beloved profession, and her uncle Balendran, who himself gave up his lover and married in order to please his father.

Populated with very sympathetic, believable characters, many of whom I would be pleased to encounter in real life. Family members who don’t always understand each other but have affection and respect for each other anyway lend the story a sharp realism. Descriptions of Colombo under the British are many and vivid, without ever becoming tedious or intrusive. I'm especially fond of the two main characters, Annalukshmi and Balendran, and I was sad to leave them when the book ended. The story doesn’t really invite a sequel, but I wish there was one anyway. ( )
3 vote Poodlerat | Jul 16, 2007 |
I loved this book. ( )
  eargent | May 17, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156013282, Paperback)

Set among the upper classes in the gracious, repressive and complex world of 1920s Ceylon (Sri Lanka), this evocative novel tells the story of two people who must determine if it is possible to pursue personal happiness without compromising the happiness of others. A young teacher, Annalukshmi, whose splintered family attempts to arrange an appropriate marriage for her, must decide whether the independence she craves will doom her to a life without love and companionship. It is also the story of Balendran who, respectably married, must suppress-or confront-the secret desires for men that threaten to throw his life into chaos. With sensuous atmosphere and vivid prose, this masterfully plotted novel re-creates a world where a beautiful veneer of fragrant gardens and manners hides social, personal, and political issues still relevant today.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel on 1920s Ceylon, now Sir Lanka, featuring a conflict between tradition and modernism. The first is represented by a man who is dominated by his father, the second by a woman who rides a bicycle and opposes an arranged marriage.

(summary from another edition)

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