Reviews from the Guardian and the Times referred to this novel as “often funny” and crediting the story with “tremendous imagination.” I couldn’t disagree more. It appeared as if these reviewers knew nothing about Sri Lankan history because there was nothing funny about thousands of bodies hacked to pieces so they couldn’t be identified and dumped into a Colombo lake. Nor anything imaginative about these facts because that’s what they were—historical facts. What was clever about Karunatalaka’s writing was that Almeida, his main character is killed, and oversees these crimes as a ghost thereby telling the tale from an omnipotent viewpoint.Continue reading “Shehan Karunatilaka’s—The seven moons of Maali Almeida *****”
Category: Other Asian 5 out of 5s
Janie Chang—The Porcelain Moon
Uncle Louis is sent with Theo and Pauline from Shanghai by the Deng family to start an antique business in Paris. He plans to arrange his son, Theo’s marriage and set him up in the business so he can return to China. But Theo manages to delay the arranged marriage first by further education, then finally by working as an interpreter for the British during WW1. When Pauline learns her uncle’s first wife is arranging her marriage, she is desperate to find her cousin to help her convince her uncle not to send her back to China. She rushes to Noyelles where Theo has been working with Chinese labourers but is distressed and fearful by what she discovers.
Every Janie Chang book I’ve read has been a five out of five. This one delves into a neglected part of World War1’s history that I had never read about which is seen through the eyes of its main characters—Theo and Pauline Deng and their friend Henri Liu, a Chinese journalist.
Rin Usami—Idol Burning *****
Akari is so wrapped up in her obsession over Masaki Ueno who is a member of the J-pop band, Masa Masa, she cannot concentrate on her schoolwork, her room is a mess, and she forgets to eat. While her father works overseas, her mother and sister are frustrated by her forgetful ways. She works part-time in a seedy bar where all her earnings go into buying Masa Masa merchandise. And the only time she communicates with others is when she blogs and comments with other Masa Masa fans.
Can she overcome this obsession enough to complete her studies or will it take something out of her control to pull her back to reality?
Samuel Park—This burns my heart *****
Soo-Ja grows up in a wealthy family, loved by everyone. With the war ended, she dreams of going to Seoul to become a diplomat, but her father does not want to lose the daughter he idolizes. Soo-ja feels trapped and believes the only way she can succeed is to marry a weak man whom she can convince to accompany her to Korea’s capital. She sets her hopes on Min, a man who claims to be in love with her and not long before their wedding, Yul, who wants to marry her too, warns her that Min is a bad choice. Young and eager to fulfil her dreams, will Soo-ja heed Yul’s warning or, like her father said of a daughter-in-law who marries the oldest son, will she live a life with nothing but drudgery, slaving for everyone else in her new family?
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