Friday, January 8, 2016

Island of a Thousand Mirrors

Island of a Thousand Mirrors
by Nayomi Munaweera

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  Before violence tore apart the tapestry of Sri Lanka and turned its pristine beaches red, there were two families.  Yasodhara tells the story of her own Sinhala family.  As a child in idyllic Colombo, Yasodhara and her siblings' lives are shaped by social hierarchy, their parents' ambitions, teenage love, and subtly, the differences between Tamil and Sinhala people.  When the peace is shattered, Yasodhara's family escapes to Los Angeles.

Saraswathi is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, with hopes to become a teacher.  But her dreams for the future are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the very heart of the conflict that she has tried so hard to avoid.  A conflict that, eventually, will connect her and Yasodhara in unexpected ways.
from the book

Review: In the first few pages I could not keep anyone straight and that made me put the book down but once I got past the first few pages and then reread the beginning I understood things better although now that I finished the book I'm confused still by the first 2 pages of the first chapter.  I knew absolutely nothing about the Civil War in Sri Lanka before reading this book and I feel that I should have known something about it based on how long it lasted and how violent it was.  The descriptions of the violence in this book are honest and horrific to imagine.  The author has expertly woven the tale of Yasodhara's family into the history of the war and has made the reader ache for the characters and what has happened to them throughout their lives.  I wish that Saraswathi's story played into the book a bit more.  We are introduced to her and her family in part 2 but we also get much more of Yasodhara's family then too and I wanted Saraswathi to be more integrated into the story because I felt like Saraswathi's transition seemed rushed and a little out of place.

Rating: 4 stars

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