The format of the book may be disconcerting for some readers as there is no readily identifiable plot, or storyline. Rather, the stories allow the reader to "eavesdrop" and watch the families change and adapt to new situations and surroundings, and observe how similar challenges are faced by the different generations. Many of the stories involve familial expectations, duties, and restrictions -- that the characters put upon themselves, or get from their families. At times, I felt that the tone was relentlessly suffocating, or constrained. Nearly every character is unhappy with his or her lot in life, in some respect his or her relationship with family, or the duties that he or she feels they must fulfill.
Mary Anne Mohanraj is a founding editor of Clean Sheets, an online erotica magazine. Not surprisingly, her writing is, at times, very sensual. Sexuality, in many forms, is explored in some of the book's stories. The writing is often very sensory in nature. Ms. Mohanraj wonderfully illustrates small moments that give real insight into the characters, and allow for their development in the compressed format of a short story.
Mohanraj's writing style is easy to read, and the short story format allows the reader to move quickly through the book. The stories tend to shy away from dialogue, and focus on the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Mohanraj portrays her characters' inner lives vividly, and this is the true strength of the book.
Book Description: These stories limn the tug-of-war between generations and gender in Sri Lanka as family members make their own choices about their futures, sometimes bringing them to America, and sometimes taking them back to their island home. In a distillation of intimate moments, the stories chronicle the loves, ambitions, spiritual and sexual quests of the members of each family as they search for meaning to their lives and a place to call home.
More about Mary Anne Mohanraj
[Fiction] [Reviews] [Bookshelf] [Sawnet]