Tag: racism

Shyam Selvadurai’s — Funny boy *****

Shyam Selvadurai’s — Funny boy *****

Arjie is a young Tamil boy unsure of his identity in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. When racial riots break out in 1983 with the burning and killing of Tamils and their property, Arjie’s life is in danger.

Although this was Selvadrai’s debut novel, its tale has stayed with me more than any other of his more recent novels. To me it’s still his finest work.

Nina Revoyr — Wingshooters *****

Nina Revoyr — Wingshooters *****

After Michelle’s Japanese mother leaves and returns to the U.S., her father takes her to the States in search of her mother. Soon she is left with her grandparents in a mid-west town where everyone is white. While her disappointment increases with the absence of her father, she discovers the joy of her grandfather’s love. Soon she is sent to school where she endures the bullying and harassment of everyone. When a negro substitute teacher comes to the school, Michelle discovers that although her grandfather is sympathetic to the bruises and black eye she suffers from other students, he is just as racist as the rest of the town. But what happens when he learns of the flaws of his best friend will change Michelle’s life forever.

A powerful and important story that grabbed me from the first page to the last.

Shyam Selvadurai’s — The hungry ghosts *****

Shyam Selvadurai’s — The hungry ghosts *****

When Shivan prepares to return to Colombo to bring his aging grandmother to Canada, memories of his childhood flood back. He remembers how he was the one forced to befriend the greedy and callous matriarch so his widowed mother and sister would not be kicked out of her house. He suffers her beatings and insults because his grandmother despises his mother for marrying a Tamil and producing two half Tamil children.

Set through an era of political hatred towards the Tamil minority (that still persists to day) and grappling with Shivan’s sexual orientation, this is a story wrought with tension on many levels.

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendour of silence ******

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendour of silence ******

Once Sam completes a rescue mission in Burma during 1942, he heads to Rudrakot after a plea from his mother back in Seattle, to find out what happened to his brother. In Rudrokot, he boards with the local Tamil political agent where he is drawn to Mila, the agent’s daughter who is expected to marry the state’s prince. Battling the loss of his brother, his growing love for Mila, a wound from his time in Burma, and the prejudice the British and Indians hold against mixed relationships, Sam discovers he cannot win all he desires.

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven Fallen Feathers *****

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven Fallen Feathers *****

Journalist, Tanya Talaga chronicles the lives and deaths of seven First Nation teens in Thunder Bay who lost their lives after moving from remote Ontario communities to attend secondary school in the city.

In this non-fiction account, we learn about life in Thunder Bay for First Nation teens; about the parents and First Nation communities who come together to search for the children when they disappear; and their contact with police and how the Thunder Bay RCMP handle each case.

This is a well written, must read for all Canadians so we grasp the systemic culture within the police force, the community, and the government at large.