Glen H. (Ovid, ID)
Island of a Thousand Mirrors
If found it difficult to navigate through the maize of relationships in the first half of this novel. Once the war started and the plot narrowed; the characters took shape, and I was moved by the story, and appreciated the authors range and depth of description. Presenting a sympathetic view of a suicide bomber is an amazing accomplishment. I also loved the way the novel ended. I hope this author continues to write, and moves beyond the autobiographical realm.
Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
Munaweera's writing is exquisite. It flows so smoothly it seems casual. There are no wasted words or dull prose. Each sentence is a new structure and complete idea, yet it flows seamlessly between the one before and after. She presents vividly the breathtaking beauty found in Sri Lankan nature and the heart-wrenching joys and sorrows found in human relationships. Matter-of-factly interspersed are intense, brutal, numbing depictions of the unnatural and inhuman actions of civilian warriors. I experienced some difficulty following the characters and their relationships. I am not at all familiar with Sri Lankan names, and I had to write down family trees and notes as I read to keep them straight. I would recommend reading the book in as few sittings as possible. I will reread this book soon, with pleasure, and I look forward to more of her work.
A wonderful historical fiction read
I did not know much of Sri Lanka before this lyrical book. Yasodhara tells the story of her loving family who want for nothing. It also tells the story of friendship and lasting ties to another person. A wonderful historical fiction read!
Kristen H. (Hagerstown, MD)
slow at first but then took off
At first, I was not excited to read this book. It was not until I got a little further into the book that it really grabbed my attention. I thought that the characters were well described but did have some difficulty following them.
I would recommend this book for a book club discussion as I feel it would generate some good discussions. The main character of the book really became someone I would love to meet and talk to.
Other then the slow start, I would give this book a four star out of five star rating.
Diane P. (Deer Park, WA)
Great debut novel...
Island of a Thousand Mirrors is the story of two families on opposite sides of the civil war that raged in Sri Lanka for 26 years. Told by the eldest daughter of each family, the story is definitely told from a woman's view.
Ever since reading Anil's Ghost Sri Lanka has interested me as to how such a small country could have such a brutal history. The civil war based on ethic lines cost the lives of thousands of Sri Lanka's citizens especially the Tamil.
While the Sinhalese family immigrated to America the Tamil family remained in Sri Lanka, either family was spared in this conflict. It is clear that any country that is involved in a 26 year civil war leaves no citizen of that country unharmed.
Nayomi Munaweer writing was even and flowed well. I truly enjoyed her writing and I believe that she has a lot to offer as a writer. One thing that stood out for me was that the Tamil daughter's story was very cold and brittle. I would have liked just a bit more on her side of this story.
Nancy K. (Toledo, OH)
Beautifully written book about "TheTroubles" of Sri Lanka
This is a must read book for readers who love to read about a far away land that they have heard about but have never really understood what ever happened in Sri Lanka. It's a story of love, hate, treachery and redemption. Conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhalas lead to a bloody Civil War that affects all the characters we learn to love in this story. The author is so good at description that you can actually taste some of the foods she writes about and smell the lush gardens she describes so beautifully. A good example would be "we press Mala to take us into her garden where green things shoot out of the ground, thick flowers explode into fruit, ferns unfurl themselves like plumage."
This would be a great book for book groups to read as there is so much to discuss, especially the characters.
Robin M. (Corpus Christi, TX)
Beauty, madness, grief and loss of a homeland
There is such lovely and poetic prose in this novel, in spite of the subject, that I want to read it again. The author describes the smells, sounds, tastes of Sri Lanka vividly, as only a person who once called it home can. There is the same personal depth of feeling in the portrayal of the hopes, dreams and fears of the characters. There is undercurrent of grief in this novel, which eventually swells to a torrent and deeply affects the futures of the women portrayed here. This is an enlightening-and terrifying-look at civil war and the far reaching consequences in today's world. I definitely will recommend this book for both the beauty of the writing and the importance of the story it tells.