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On Sal Mal Lane On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman is both stunningly beautiful and at the same time deeply sad, but above all takes the reader to places most have not been and this reader knew little about, life leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war Freeman s writing is beautiful, almost poetic at times, even with such a heavy topic, the characters will imprint themselves on the reader and Freeman easily transport the reader back in time to Sri Lanka allowing the reader to view life through several well rounded, On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman is both stunningly beautiful and at the same time deeply sad, but above all takes the reader to places most have not been and this reader knew little about, life leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war Freeman s writing is beautiful, almost poetic at times, even with such a heavy topic, the characters will imprint themselves on the reader and Freeman easily transport the reader back in time to Sri Lanka allowing the reader to view life through several well rounded, flawed, and exceedingly realistic characters There are times this book is painful to read and yet Freeman s prose carries the reader through I cannot praise On Sal Mal Lane enough and it is my hope all readers will pick up a copy and learnabout the history and culture of Sri Lanka Sal Mal Lane is a dead end street in the capitol of Sri Lanka On that street live people of different religions and ethnicities Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Lansis So far, on the surface they get along but a storm is brewing in the country and, with authorial intrusion, we know that things, will turn violent with time.The children of Sal Mal Lane are the focus of this delightful novel The Heruth children star in this book There is Rashmi who is perfect in he Sal Mal Lane is a dead end street in the capitol of Sri Lanka On that street live people of different religions and ethnicities Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Lansis So far, on the surface they get along but a storm is brewing in the country and, with authorial intrusion, we know that things, will turn violent with time.The children of Sal Mal Lane are the focus of this delightful novel The Heruth children star in this book There is Rashmi who is perfect in her studies and a perfectionist in every way Devi has finally attained good grades after a time of rebellion and opposition She is innocent, spoiled, impetuous, loving, a free spirit, vulnerable Nihil can see words forward and backwards and he is prescient of Devi s future Suren is a musical prodigy who wants to make his life in music despite his parents wanting him to become an engineer.On the outskirts of the central characters are Sonna, a bad boy Raju, a simple man the twins who are impoverished and other children who live on the lane.The Herath parents are quite political and stand to the left of center Mr Heruth has been involved in a strike that has gone awry with failure but he keeps fighting for the Tamil minority As he fights, the country goesandtowards the Sinhalese with everything written in their language or English Around the city, the rumors continued Rumor had it that the Tamil language would soon be banned altogether, that Tamil shopkeepers were erasing the Tamil from their signs, that Tamil politicians addressed everybody in English and did so out of fear The children will find themselves looking into a world they don t understand, one that is filled with discord, pain and uprising I found out a lot about Sri Lanka, a country that was quite foreign to me Ru Freeman does a wonderful job of educating the reader and her writing is very interesting, coming from childrens perspectives as it does I recommend this book for people who enjoy international literature a sweet and bittersweet story a compelling read about the innocence of youth, with the backdrop of social unrest in Sri Lanka in the early 1980 s and its roots, yet again, in British imperialism and its impact on those children the author builds a multi layered scenario where various families on the street live and navigate their own and their neighbors ethnic and religious stakes I was awed by how seemingly simple and innocent passages set the stage for and depicted deeper and dangerous a a sweet and bittersweet story a compelling read about the innocence of youth, with the backdrop of social unrest in Sri Lanka in the early 1980 s and its roots, yet again, in British imperialism and its impact on those children the author builds a multi layered scenario where various families on the street live and navigate their own and their neighbors ethnic and religious stakes I was awed by how seemingly simple and innocent passages set the stage for and depicted deeper and dangerous actions and feelings an ultimately satisfying read wow ps Sri Lanka s anti terrorism laws are a stark warning for the US read that, NSA Synopsis The four Herath siblings, along with their parents the father a government employee in Sri Lanka and the mother a school teacher move into a house On Sal Mal Lane in the southern parts of the country in the year 1979 This story is about them, about how the entire lane seems to find a new lease of life, how the people in the lane and their lives slowly start to revolve around them and how they all influence each other But there is a simmering discontent which is sometimes evideSynopsis The four Herath siblings, along with their parents the father a government employee in Sri Lanka and the mother a school teacher move into a house On Sal Mal Lane in the southern parts of the country in the year 1979 This story is about them, about how the entire lane seems to find a new lease of life, how the people in the lane and their lives slowly start to revolve around them and how they all influence each other But there is a simmering discontent which is sometimes evident within the thoughts of some of the residents of the lane and also in the country A story, which while limited to the lane it is named upon, contains a history of ordinary people in the years leading up to the beginning of the Civil War from 1983Review I ve started a new trend of reading for myself, I begin a book with the end pages Nope, not spoiling it, just to check whether there is something else other than Acknowledgement and a Note on the font And there was a Glossary there, which I can refer to while reading the book I read this story in fits and starts, the reason it took me close to four months to finish reading it But, this story will always remain close to my heart and deserves all the hype that I can create for it A story of innocence, of children growing up, of events beyond anyone s control a story of wonderful dreams and dashed hopes amidst the clamour of civil war A story where class and caste differences are attempted to be understood through the eyes of innocent children who are trying to understand the complex world that the adults inhabit A world that the latter, having left behind their days of innocence, seems to unnecessarily complicate melodious voice It lifted and cuddled its consonants and aired its vowels What a beautiful and poignant story this was A historical fiction spread over five years from 1979 to 1983 it starts with a prologue On 5 May 1976, the narrator brings forth a short history of the country that is Sri Lanka And the numerous conflicts that plagued the nation But all of it is to be told from the perspective of everyone who lived on Sal Mal Lane Even if they may be insignificant people in the grand scheme of a nation, they too share the same history and are affected by it.After the epigraph, the first thing that you see is a map of Sri Lanka followed by a pictorial depiction of Sal Mal Lane accompanied by a list of the members of the families inhabiting houses on both sides of the lane, which helped in visualising the setting while reading the book The prologue itself promised a wealth of writing Especially the way the narrator introduces itself at the end, in the first person Yes, itself Sounds bewildering It did to me too Every year has a few chapters with titles that indicate what is to come in those chapters.It is far easier to be everything and nothing than it is to conceal love.In the early days of 1979, the Sinhalese Buddhist Heraths moved into the only empty house On Sal Mal Lane Named after the grove of sal trees at the very end of the lane, what made this stand out was the way the children of the lane were at the crux of the story This first chapter set the tone for the entire novel Yes, the Sinhalese Buddhist is a necessary bit of information since the novel, among other things, involves the gradual escalation in tensions between the Tamils and the Sinhalese.Reading a book from a culture other than mine is always such a wonder Getting to know their homegrown remedies, their foods, their festivals, etc It also brought home the fact of how children don t care at all about caste equations, religious standing, or social classes.He felt burdened by the weight of all his learning, which, he knew, came with the corresponding responsibility to seize any opportunity to correct The omniscient narrator appears from time to time, giving us a hint of something that possibly might have led to the events in the future As the story unfurls, behind the prim and proper facade of Mrs Herath lies an unyielding persona that sometimes doesn t even stop to consider her children s happiness This story reaffirmed how kindness and music can go a long way in uniting humanity The author s way of narration, how she started with a simple enough tale about a neighbourhood, weaved in the national Tension with a capital T which was simmering before the full blowout, and her subtle hints about how it would be in the future even if it seemed all happy and gay at present, was magnificent The writing is lyrical, it rolled off my tongue and settled deep in the crevices of my heart.The writing was a revelation, especially when other characters were also given a voice, albeit briefly I was amazed at the author s use of wordplay, where through the children s activities, she drew a picture of the country and the events to come.It was the sort of trouble that would soon overflow its banks and flood the nation, turning the small ponds of concern and occasional tears of Sal Mal Lane into their own tributaries of discontent.The last few pages made me weep For all the things lost, for all the promises unfulfilled A senseless loss, which spiralled intogrief and acts which beg the question, when does it all end Certainly not with the epilogue.This was a tough review to write, and I can only imagine how Ru Freeman was able to pen down this story Even after so many words, I still haven t covered what all this book was about I can only request you all to please read this book P.S I borrowed a paperback copy from the local branch of the Delhi Public Library.This is also my entry for Prompt 15 of the Reading Women Challenge 2019 A book written by a South Asian author.Also, in keeping with the trend, here is what I would call the Playlist of this book Brahms 3 Intermezzi op 117Debussy s Arabesque no 2Brahms 6 pieces op 118 Ballade in G MinorChopin Ocean Waves Etude op 25 no 12 HQBagatelle in A Minor, op 59, F r EliseChopin Nocturne no 21 in C MinorPiano Sonata no 14 in C sharp Minor, op 27, no 2Fernando by ABBAOut of the Blue by Michael Learns to RockWhat s Forever For by Michael MurphyUnder the Boardwalk by the DriftersEbony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie WonderYellow Submarine by the BeatlesTennessee Waltz, the Anne Murray versionKalu Kella MamaiOriginally posted on Shaina s Musings 4.5 5I m not nearly as picky about buying books by women of color as I am about nearly every other demographic Indeed, I believe I paid full bookstore price for this particular copy, purchased alongside This novel is set in Sri Lanka from 1979 to 1983, a time of civil unrest and revolution on this island nation At the center of Freeman s tale is the Herath family and their neighbors on a short street, Sal Mal Lane, in the nation s capitol Colombo In telling their story, Freeman is able to show on multiple levels the growth of societal dischord in Sri Lanka Much of the book concerns the children of Sal Mal Lane and their relationships with one another Their interactions can be distilled into This novel is set in Sri Lanka from 1979 to 1983, a time of civil unrest and revolution on this island nation At the center of Freeman s tale is the Herath family and their neighbors on a short street, Sal Mal Lane, in the nation s capitol Colombo In telling their story, Freeman is able to show on multiple levels the growth of societal dischord in Sri Lanka Much of the book concerns the children of Sal Mal Lane and their relationships with one another Their interactions can be distilled into a series of parables for the adult reader to ponder The overall message seems to be that both good and evil are a part of our world and each will show itself over time This quote from an adult neighbor talking to Nihil, one of the Herath children, speaks to this point, People do not go to war, Nihil, they carry war inside them Either they have war within them or they don t have it The thing to think about is do you and I have war inside us This is a book to savor in small sips, like a fine wine The reader needs to go slowly so as not to miss too many of the life lessons that Freeman has provided Set against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war, Ru Freeman s epic novel explores the lives of the diverse families that live on Sal Mal Lane and the heartbreaking ways this once harmonious community turns on one another with the country on the brink of warOn the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there As each neighbour adapts to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalriesBut when the tides of civil war begin to turn towards the neighbourhood, their differences ignite in ways no one could have imagined As the stability of their neighborhood is threatened by clashing political beliefs and prejudices, the children of the community are forced to watch their parents and friends turn against one another Seen through the children s eyes, the events on Sal Mal Lane come to mirror the course of modern Sri Lanka at its most violent and volatileA powerful, evocative work, On Sal Mal Lane masterfully illuminates the origins of this war and explores the lengths family will go to protect one another [Reading] ➾ Heart of Fire ➵ Senait G. Mehari – Kleankitchen.co.uk Ru Freeman s epic novel explores the lives of the diverse families that live on Sal Mal Lane and the heartbreaking ways this once harmonious community turns on one another with the country on the brink of warOn the day the Herath family moves in [Download] ✤ The Downstairs Girl By Stacey Lee – Kleankitchen.co.uk Sal Mal Lane is a quiet street ➲ [Read] ➭ The Sea is Only Knee Deep - Volume 2 By Paulina Zelitsky ➽ – Kleankitchen.co.uk disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there As each neighbour adapts to the newcomers in different ways [Read] ➵ The Lottery Author Lucy Sussex – Kleankitchen.co.uk the children fill their days with cricket matches [Download] ➺ A Chinese History Reader By Sun Xiaoyu – Kleankitchen.co.uk romantic crushes ❰Lesening❯ ➶ Feng Shui: The Living Earth Manual: The Living Earth Manual Autor Stephen Skinner – Kleankitchen.co.uk and small rivalriesBut when the tides of civil war begin to turn towards the neighbourhood [Download] ➺ The Rook (The Checquy Files, Author Daniel O& – Kleankitchen.co.uk their differences ignite in ways no one could have imagined As the stability of their neighborhood is threatened by clashing political beliefs and prejudices ❮Read❯ ➮ Kranes Cafe ➲ Author Cora Sandel – Kleankitchen.co.uk the children of the community are forced to watch their parents and friends turn against one another Seen through the children s eyes ❰KINDLE❯ ✽ The Friend Zone Author Sariah Wilson – Kleankitchen.co.uk the events on Sal Mal Lane come to mirror the course of modern Sri Lanka at its most violent and volatileA powerful ✈ [PDF / Epub] ✅ Shqipja dhe Sanskritishtja By Petro Zheji ✸ – Kleankitchen.co.uk evocative work [Reading] ➷ Pilvi housuissa ja muita runoja ➭ Vladimir Mayakovsky – Kleankitchen.co.uk On Sal Mal Lane masterfully illuminates the origins of this war and explores the lengths family will go to protect one another I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reaction waslike Oh This It seemed very daunting once it was in hand because I don t know anything about Sri Lanka, and besides, there was a new Patrick Ness coming out, and a new Gentlemen Bastards, so I had THINGS to do.I I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reaction waslike Oh This It seemed very daunting once it was in hand because I don t know anything about Sri Lanka, and besides, there was a new Patrick Ness coming out, and a new Gentlemen Bastards, so I had THINGS to do.It ended up being really great It reminded me a little of To Kill A Mockingbird, not in style or tone, but because of the device of framing social, cultural, and political issues with the goings on of a bunch of little kids In this case, the issues are all related to the conflicts between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the early 80s.Going into the book with zero knowledge about these events, I was worried it would be difficult to follow, but the book was impressively designed to keep the threads moving along in an easy way, especially for ignorant people such as me And it s a lot of complicated history and issues The other side of this coin is that some of the secondary characters feel a bit stock but I m not quite convinced that s a criticism because it felt like a deliberate choice on the part of the author to assist less familiar readers with staying engaged My personal strategy was to read about 1 3 of the book to get the general gist of what was going on, and then I took a break for some googling of the various historical incidents and political events being referenced Okay, strategy makes it sound like I did that on purpose, when it waslike the timing worked out that way, but I would recommend it to anyone who would like an introduction or refresher on the issues surrounding the Sinhalese majority or the Tamil minority and then the religious minorities within each group of Sri Lanka Because so much of the book is spent with the various, somewhat dreamy, adventures of the children of the families who live on one small residential street, there was something about it that reminded me of The Penderwicks, had The Penderwicks been written for adults and set against a backdrop of race riots The writing here is lovely, and achieves that same effect of creating a children s world that feels both idyllic and realistic.I have one quibble, which is a tiny part of the book, and I realize it seems like the most complainy, nitpicky thing in the entire world, but for some reason it nagged at me a lot The events of the book are very clearly set in certain years they are labelled, that is how clear it is And one of the things the kids do is listen to pop music on the BBC Now, I realize the author is a young person, and I m sure all 80s music is the same to her, but there were a few specific songs mentioned that didn t come out until a few years later Maybe this wouldn t matter so much to me in a book where the point was to present the 80s in a general sense, but because the plot of this book is so closely tied to real life political events, the progression of the years in the lives of the kids seemsimportant to me God was not responsible for what came to pass People said it was karma, punishment in this life for past sins, fate People said that no beauty was permitted in the world without some accompanying darkness to balance it out, and surely these children were beautiful But what people said was unimportant what befell them befell all of us 3.5 starsSal Mal Lane is a cul de sac neigbourhood in Sri Lanka A community of neighbours of varying classes, caste and ethnicities, all appear to live in ha God was not responsible for what came to pass People said it was karma, punishment in this life for past sins, fate People said that no beauty was permitted in the world without some accompanying darkness to balance it out, and surely these children were beautiful But what people said was unimportant what befell them befell all of us 3.5 starsSal Mal Lane is a cul de sac neigbourhood in Sri Lanka A community of neighbours of varying classes, caste and ethnicities, all appear to live in harmony When the Herath family move in, they cause quite an uproar Being viewed as friends by some and as enemies by others, the Herath family settles in As the children of Sal Mal Lane play music, cricket and interact, Civil War looms, slowly fracturing the seemingly peaceful neighbourhood This is another tough book to rate for me I wanted so badly to love this book and while there are many great and beautiful elements in this narrative, as I whole, I found it to be too much Sal Mal Lane is a neigbourhood of Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Lansis, all seemingly living peacefully side by side The arrival of the Herath family seems to upset this balance Of different castes, ethnicities and economic situations, the children of all the families are the focus As they get interact and get along or not get along , they bridge some some gaps and create others Tensions are ever present and only rise when war slowly looms, forcing the people in this community to become vigilant and choose sides First off, the prose is just magnificent and almost poetic and the concept is fantastic Where I struggle is with the amount of characters and events I had difficult time keeping track of who belonged to which family and what caste class they were and why they did did not get long with a specific neighbour A basic knowledge of the Sri Lanka civil war is needed prior to reading this book which I did not have otherwise many events will not make any sense The plot moved at a too slow pace At times, reading this book felt like a chore Hardly the worst book I have read but one that I did not entrely love It was a we that the Silvas liked to imagine exited, if things came to that, though it could be argued that the very existance of the idea was proof that such a division into a we and a themwas not far from fact Without a doubt, the main theme of this book is unity and looking past our established divisions I love that Freeman focused on the children for their inherent innocence of in matters such as caste or race The final third of the book most strongly drove this point home and was by far the best part of the entire book The devastation and tragedy were tangible butso were the friendships forged through war I love the sentiment behind this book and would have rate it higher were it not for the above mentioned issues Still, I am glad to have read this book When it comes to humanity there should not be aweor athem , there should be anusDespitr my reservations, I would still recommend this book This is a compelling and intimate story of neighbors on a small lane in a small town in Sri Lanka It s a mixed neighborhood with Tamil, Sinhalese Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim and Burgher families living side by side, gossiping, squabbling at times, watching their children interact and grow up The story runs from 1979 to 1983, as ethnic tensions in the country gradually enmesh them as events move toward ethnic strife, sudden communal violence and civil war.The book will require the reader s This is a compelling and intimate story of neighbors on a small lane in a small town in Sri Lanka It s a mixed neighborhood with Tamil, Sinhalese Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim and Burgher families living side by side, gossiping, squabbling at times, watching their children interact and grow up The story runs from 1979 to 1983, as ethnic tensions in the country gradually enmesh them as events move toward ethnic strife, sudden communal violence and civil war.The book will require the reader s close attention While the human interactions are universal, the cultural references the author provides a small and handy glossary at the back need bearing in mind, and the cast of characters is fairly large their characters are vivid and varied enough so that they re hard to keep straight These are people the reader can care about, but the lane also seems to be a microcosm, a symbolic prelude, told in one lane, leading to twenty six years of civil war.Recommend

    [Reading] ➾ Heart of Fire ➵ Senait G. Mehari – Kleankitchen.co.uk Ru Freeman s epic novel explores the lives of the diverse families that live on Sal Mal Lane and the heartbreaking ways this once harmonious community turns on one another with the country on the brink of warOn the day the Herath family moves in [Download] ✤ The Downstairs Girl By Stacey Lee – Kleankitchen.co.uk Sal Mal Lane is a quiet street ➲ [Read] ➭ The Sea is Only Knee Deep - Volume 2 By Paulina Zelitsky ➽ – Kleankitchen.co.uk disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there As each neighbour adapts to the newcomers in different ways [Read] ➵ The Lottery Author Lucy Sussex – Kleankitchen.co.uk the children fill their days with cricket matches [Download] ➺ A Chinese History Reader By Sun Xiaoyu – Kleankitchen.co.uk romantic crushes ❰Lesening❯ ➶ Feng Shui: The Living Earth Manual: The Living Earth Manual Autor Stephen Skinner – Kleankitchen.co.uk and small rivalriesBut when the tides of civil war begin to turn towards the neighbourhood [Download] ➺ The Rook (The Checquy Files, Author Daniel O& – Kleankitchen.co.uk their differences ignite in ways no one could have imagined As the stability of their neighborhood is threatened by clashing political beliefs and prejudices ❮Read❯ ➮ Kranes Cafe ➲ Author Cora Sandel – Kleankitchen.co.uk the children of the community are forced to watch their parents and friends turn against one another Seen through the children s eyes ❰KINDLE❯ ✽ The Friend Zone Author Sariah Wilson – Kleankitchen.co.uk the events on Sal Mal Lane come to mirror the course of modern Sri Lanka at its most violent and volatileA powerful ✈ [PDF / Epub] ✅ Shqipja dhe Sanskritishtja By Petro Zheji ✸ – Kleankitchen.co.uk evocative work [Reading] ➷ Pilvi housuissa ja muita runoja ➭ Vladimir Mayakovsky – Kleankitchen.co.uk On Sal Mal Lane masterfully illuminates the origins of this war and explores the lengths family will go to protect one another I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reaction waslike Oh This It seemed very daunting once it was in hand because I don t know anything about Sri Lanka, and besides, there was a new Patrick Ness coming out, and a new Gentlemen Bastards, so I had THINGS to do.I I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reaction waslike Oh This It seemed very daunting once it was in hand because I don t know anything about Sri Lanka, and besides, there was a new Patrick Ness coming out, and a new Gentlemen Bastards, so I had THINGS to do.It ended up being really great It reminded me a little of To Kill A Mockingbird, not in style or tone, but because of the device of framing social, cultural, and political issues with the goings on of a bunch of little kids In this case, the issues are all related to the conflicts between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the early 80s.Going into the book with zero knowledge about these events, I was worried it would be difficult to follow, but the book was impressively designed to keep the threads moving along in an easy way, especially for ignorant people such as me And it s a lot of complicated history and issues The other side of this coin is that some of the secondary characters feel a bit stock but I m not quite convinced that s a criticism because it felt like a deliberate choice on the part of the author to assist less familiar readers with staying engaged My personal strategy was to read about 1 3 of the book to get the general gist of what was going on, and then I took a break for some googling of the various historical incidents and political events being referenced Okay, strategy makes it sound like I did that on purpose, when it waslike the timing worked out that way, but I would recommend it to anyone who would like an introduction or refresher on the issues surrounding the Sinhalese majority or the Tamil minority and then the religious minorities within each group of Sri Lanka Because so much of the book is spent with the various, somewhat dreamy, adventures of the children of the families who live on one small residential street, there was something about it that reminded me of The Penderwicks, had The Penderwicks been written for adults and set against a backdrop of race riots The writing here is lovely, and achieves that same effect of creating a children s world that feels both idyllic and realistic.I have one quibble, which is a tiny part of the book, and I realize it seems like the most complainy, nitpicky thing in the entire world, but for some reason it nagged at me a lot The events of the book are very clearly set in certain years they are labelled, that is how clear it is And one of the things the kids do is listen to pop music on the BBC Now, I realize the author is a young person, and I m sure all 80s music is the same to her, but there were a few specific songs mentioned that didn t come out until a few years later Maybe this wouldn t matter so much to me in a book where the point was to present the 80s in a general sense, but because the plot of this book is so closely tied to real life political events, the progression of the years in the lives of the kids seemsimportant to me God was not responsible for what came to pass People said it was karma, punishment in this life for past sins, fate People said that no beauty was permitted in the world without some accompanying darkness to balance it out, and surely these children were beautiful But what people said was unimportant what befell them befell all of us 3.5 starsSal Mal Lane is a cul de sac neigbourhood in Sri Lanka A community of neighbours of varying classes, caste and ethnicities, all appear to live in ha God was not responsible for what came to pass People said it was karma, punishment in this life for past sins, fate People said that no beauty was permitted in the world without some accompanying darkness to balance it out, and surely these children were beautiful But what people said was unimportant what befell them befell all of us 3.5 starsSal Mal Lane is a cul de sac neigbourhood in Sri Lanka A community of neighbours of varying classes, caste and ethnicities, all appear to live in harmony When the Herath family move in, they cause quite an uproar Being viewed as friends by some and as enemies by others, the Herath family settles in As the children of Sal Mal Lane play music, cricket and interact, Civil War looms, slowly fracturing the seemingly peaceful neighbourhood This is another tough book to rate for me I wanted so badly to love this book and while there are many great and beautiful elements in this narrative, as I whole, I found it to be too much Sal Mal Lane is a neigbourhood of Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Lansis, all seemingly living peacefully side by side The arrival of the Herath family seems to upset this balance Of different castes, ethnicities and economic situations, the children of all the families are the focus As they get interact and get along or not get along , they bridge some some gaps and create others Tensions are ever present and only rise when war slowly looms, forcing the people in this community to become vigilant and choose sides First off, the prose is just magnificent and almost poetic and the concept is fantastic Where I struggle is with the amount of characters and events I had difficult time keeping track of who belonged to which family and what caste class they were and why they did did not get long with a specific neighbour A basic knowledge of the Sri Lanka civil war is needed prior to reading this book which I did not have otherwise many events will not make any sense The plot moved at a too slow pace At times, reading this book felt like a chore Hardly the worst book I have read but one that I did not entrely love It was a we that the Silvas liked to imagine exited, if things came to that, though it could be argued that the very existance of the idea was proof that such a division into a we and a themwas not far from fact Without a doubt, the main theme of this book is unity and looking past our established divisions I love that Freeman focused on the children for their inherent innocence of in matters such as caste or race The final third of the book most strongly drove this point home and was by far the best part of the entire book The devastation and tragedy were tangible butso were the friendships forged through war I love the sentiment behind this book and would have rate it higher were it not for the above mentioned issues Still, I am glad to have read this book When it comes to humanity there should not be aweor athem , there should be anusDespitr my reservations, I would still recommend this book This is a compelling and intimate story of neighbors on a small lane in a small town in Sri Lanka It s a mixed neighborhood with Tamil, Sinhalese Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim and Burgher families living side by side, gossiping, squabbling at times, watching their children interact and grow up The story runs from 1979 to 1983, as ethnic tensions in the country gradually enmesh them as events move toward ethnic strife, sudden communal violence and civil war.The book will require the reader s This is a compelling and intimate story of neighbors on a small lane in a small town in Sri Lanka It s a mixed neighborhood with Tamil, Sinhalese Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim and Burgher families living side by side, gossiping, squabbling at times, watching their children interact and grow up The story runs from 1979 to 1983, as ethnic tensions in the country gradually enmesh them as events move toward ethnic strife, sudden communal violence and civil war.The book will require the reader s close attention While the human interactions are universal, the cultural references the author provides a small and handy glossary at the back need bearing in mind, and the cast of characters is fairly large their characters are vivid and varied enough so that they re hard to keep straight These are people the reader can care about, but the lane also seems to be a microcosm, a symbolic prelude, told in one lane, leading to twenty six years of civil war.Recommend"/>
  • Paperback
  • 408 pages
  • On Sal Mal Lane
  • Ru Freeman
  • English
  • 03 April 2017
  • 1770893555

About the Author: Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman b 1967 is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl Atria Simon Schuster, 2009 , and On Sal Mal Lane Graywolf Press , a NYT Editor s Choice Book Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese She is editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition American Writers on Palestine OR Books, 2015 , a collection of the voices of 65 American poets and writers speaking about America s dis engagement with Palestine Freeman holds a graduate degree in labor studies, researching female migrant labor in the countries of Kuwait, the U.A.E, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, in the South Asia office of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL CIO , and the American Friends Service Committee in their humanitarian and disaster relief programs She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writer s Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman Freeman writes for the Huffington Post on books and politics.