In Yalini's globe-scattered, war-torn Sri Lankan family, there are two kinds of marriage: the Arranged Marriage and the Love Marriage. As the American-born daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants - themselves the first in their family to have a Love Marriage - Yalini is caught between the traditions of her ancestors and the modern world in which she lives. But when she is summoned to Toronto to help care for her dying uncle, Kumaran, a member of the militant Tamil Tigers, she understands that love must transcend many more boundaries.
Yalini's newfound relationship with Kumaran inspires her to take on the role of the family historian, chronicling her lineage through a series of marriages, each confronted in different ways by the war and displacement facing Sri Lankan Tamils. And as she helps prepare for her cousin's arranged marriage, she comes to understand the forces that shaped her - from her immigrant parents who escaped their homeland to Kumaran himself, who chose terrorism over oppression.
Ganeshananthan's prose is innovative and richly textured, told in lyrical vignettes that span several generations, and she knits together the story's many threads with the universal themes of family, love, duty, and honor, making the exotic setting and foreign conflict accessible to listeners everywhere.
"Written in sparse vignettes replete with emotional recollections of the past, Ganeshananthan’s first novel imagines a rich and haunting family history." (Booklist)
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