On Sal Mal Lane: Book summary and reviews of On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman

On Sal Mal Lane

By Ru Freeman

On Sal Mal Lane
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  • Published in USA  May 2013,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war

On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there. As the neighbors adapt to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all.

In a heartrending novel poised between the past and the future, the innocence of the children - a beloved sister and her overprotective siblings, a rejected son and his twin sisters, two very different brothers - contrasts sharply with the petty prejudices of the adults charged with their care. In Ru Freeman's masterful hands, On Sal Mal Lane, a story of what was lost to a country and her people, becomes a resounding cry for reconciliation.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Freeman's gift for verisimilitude is manifest with searing clarity ... And in fictionalizing Sri Lankan history, Freeman accomplishes what reportage alone cannot: she blends the journalist's loyalty to fact with impassioned imagination." - Booklist

"[H]ad this saga - which is three-quarters foreboding, one-quarter violent, heartbreaking denouement - been more concise, it could almost have been called a masterpiece." - Publishers Weekly

"Lovingly written, historically rich and compassionate to all sides of the turmoil, this tale is also frustratingly distant, leaving the reader sympathetic but not fully engaged." - Kirkus

"Piercingly intelligent and shatter-your-heart profound, Ru Freeman's On Sal Mal Lane is as luminous as it is wrenching, as fierce as it is generous. This is a riveting, important, beauty of a book." - Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things

"An elegiac and powerful portrait of a troubled time. Ru Freeman beautifully interweaves humanity and history, creating a wise, thought-provoking and deeply felt novel." - Madeline Miller, winner of the Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles

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Ru Freeman is the author of A Disobedient Girl. She is an activist and journalist whose work appears internationally. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home.

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