Tag: Shyam Selvadurai

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while Yasodhara soon finds joy in these tasks among the camaraderie of the village women, Sidhartha becomes moody and withdrawn and his interest in the philosophy of the ascetics deepens.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.

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.

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.