Category: Canadian 5 out of 5s

Shyam Selvadaurai’s—Mansions of the moon *****

Shyam Selvadaurai’s—Mansions of the moon *****

Yasodhara marries Sidhartha and hopes for a union like her parents, loving and caring, along with the comforts after she moves to her father-in-law’s palace. But Sidhartha’s father, the Raja, has always despised his son because he blames him for the loss of his beloved wife when she gave birth to Sidhartha. Full of hatred, he posts his son as governor to a remote northern village where they are given a small hut, where there is no servant, and Yasodhara must tend to a rice paddy field and vegetable garden, so they have food for the winter. But while Yasodhara soon finds joy in these tasks among the camaraderie of the village women, Sidhartha becomes moody and withdrawn and his interest in the philosophy of the ascetics deepens.

This is a story of The Buddha’s wife and how she tried to hang on to her marriage until her husband finally deserted her and their only son to follow what he termed, the middle path. I have read all of Selvadaurai’s novels and this is by far his best.

Linda Holeman’s — The Moonlit Cage *****

Linda Holeman’s — The Moonlit Cage *****

Darya grows up in an Afghanistan village in the 1850s under an overbearing father. He brings home a second wife who gives him the son he’s always wanted. Before the second wife leaves the family, she curses Darya so no one will marry her.

Eventually, she is married to Shaliq from a Ghilzai tribe whose cruel treatment forces her to flee. This leads to a long and dangerous journey Darya could never have dreamed of. 

Denise Chong’s — The Concubine’s Children *****

Denise Chong’s — The Concubine’s Children *****

This is a fascinating tale of Chan Sam who left his wife in China to find gold in British Columbia. In Vancouver, he bought a concubine who worked in Chinatown to support both families.

The memoir gives a deep insight into the early lives of Chinese immigrants to Canada—the hard work they endured, the loneliness they faced, and the deep prejudice they suffered from both the government and the European community. 

M. Wylie Blanchet’s — The Curve of Time *****

M. Wylie Blanchet’s — The Curve of Time *****

After being widowed in 1927, Blanchet took off with her children as skipper in her seven metre boat every summer to tour deserted inlets and abandoned First Nation villages. She cruised single handedly from her home on Vancouver Island along the Strait of Georgia between the Gulf Islands braving storms and engine breakdowns.

This is a wonderful memoir—a Canadian classic—that made me feel as if I was on an extended holiday to these beautiful and unique isolated locations.