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Reef by Romesh Gunesekera
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Reef (1994)

by Romesh Gunesekera

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3331150,090 (3.55)26
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    SqueakyChu: Another book, this one funny, about the desire to move up in society.
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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The post colonial history of Sri Lanka told through food. Political events loom in the background as the kitchen takes the stage. National disruption is mirrored by disruption in the home through the introduction of a woman into bachelor domaine run smoothly by the house boy. A sad ending is inevitable. ( )
  Steve38 | May 9, 2016 |
A thoughtful, sympathetic story of the spoliation of the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, renowned first for its coral, but then for its bitter civil war. And the tender, amusing, sad then possibly hopeful love story of Mister Salgado; all told through the eyes of Triton, the 11 year old houseboy, who you come to realise has his own story as he progresses, through luck, determination, Salgado's guidance and self education, to become a a restaurant owner in Earls Court. Triton had managed to break 'all the old taboos' and freed himself from the 'demons' of his past.
The story is sensuous, its interweaving themes brought together through detailed depictions of cooking, whether it is preparing the exotic parrot fish or love cake, or the triumphant mastering of the Xmas turkey.
  Thyme09 | Dec 2, 2010 |
An eleven-year-old boy was delivered by his uncle to the house of a wealthy man in Sri Lanka after a bungled coup. The master of the house, Ranjan Salgado, accepted this boy Triton as one of his houseboys. Not happy being in the shadow of a more senior houseboy, Triton decided to do what he could to elevate his position within the household and was overjoyed when he finally reached the status of cook.

I wasn’t sure at first that this novel had any coherent plot. As I worked my way through the story, though, I realized that it was not one of action but rather of developing interrelationships. Most of the narrative dealt with the everyday lives of Triton, Mr. Salgado, Mr. Salgado’s girlfriend Nili, and Mr. Salgado’s close friend Dias. In the background were rumblings of impending political upheaval. This always seemed more shadowy than real. As the story began to draw to a close and not much had happened yet, I was beginning to wonder what I had missed. Finally, and it wasn’t until the last few pages of this book, I understood the direction of the story and came to appreciate its underlying beauty. ( )
2 vote SqueakyChu | Oct 26, 2010 |
  living2read | Jun 2, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Romesh Gunesekeraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Figee, HenkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Of his bones are coral made

- The Tempest
Dedication
Helen
First words
At the petrol station the forecourt was empty except for my car, an old red Volkswagen that used to be Mister Saldago's.
Quotations
The urge to build, to transform nature, to make something out of nothing is universal. But to conserve, to protect, to care for the past is something we have to learn.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140140301, Paperback)

"Exotic," "spicy," and "delicious" are adjectives rarely applied to first novels; however, Reef had critics on both sides of the Atlantic smacking their lips. Reef is the coming-of-age story of Triton, a talented young chef so committed to pleasing his master's palate that he is oblivious to the political unrest threatening his Sri Lanka paradise. The London Times called it "incessantly pleasurable," and Booklist writes, "After slowly and reverently savoring Gunesekera's debut novel, it's easy to see why this flawless book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:53 -0400)

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