Read advance reader review of What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera

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What Lies Between Us

by Nayomi Munaweera

What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera X
What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2016, 320 pages

    Apr 2017, 320 pages


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  • Patricia G. (Dyer, IN)
    Emotional journey
    I was halfway through Nayomi Munaweera's What Lies Between Us before I realized that I did not know the first person narrator's name. While this is unusual story development, what I find even more intriguing is that it didn't matter since I was already so invested in her story. The young girl from Sri Lanka tells her compelling story with such strong narrative voice that I only knew that I wanted to know how the tangled web of her life would evolve from the opening paragraphs.

    Munaweera's prose is flowing and lyrical, punctuated with images and emotional depth which would make it a good choice for book club discussion. Serious Issues of immigration, sexual abuse, interracial marriage, post-partem depression are intertwined with grace by a young woman whose past both defines and forecasts her future.
  • Mary S. (Bow, NH)
    Best book I've read this year
    What Lies Between Us is the story of a woman (the narrator) growing up in Ski Lanka and eventually migrating to the United States. Throughout the book, water plays an important part and the imagery is fantastic. From the little girl getting cold well water dumped on her during a hot Sri Lankan summer, to the raging of a flooding river, to the sparkle of the San Francisco Bay on a sunny day, the author successfully winds water through the tale being told. The story line moves quickly maintaining the reader's interest with precise vocabulary that allows one to "see" what is happening. My only complaint, and it is a small one, is the spouse's reaction to the narrator's obvious mental illness which I found unrealistic in this day and age. However, that small piece did not keep me from loving this novel.
  • Maureen S. (Huntington Station, NY)
    What Lies Between Us
    Do the secrets of the past follow us into adulthood? This is the theme so beautifully developed by Nayomi Munaweera in this stunning novel. The story reads like a memoir as we follow the thoughts and confessions of this young girl as she is forced to leave her home in Sri Lanka and assimilate to life in America as a teenager. The writing is so crisp and full we become lost in our own memories.
    We know this will not end happily for her as the opening sentence tells us "the walls of my cell are painted industrial white...Yet we continue to want the best for this girl, whose name we do not know, but whose life we have followed for decades.
    The story is beautifully written in the lyrical language of a poet, yet it captures the devastating and brutal turns that life can take. You will be unable to put this book down. Not only do I recommend this book, I would consider it a "must read".
  • Sally H. (Geneva, OH)
    What Lies Between us
    This story was difficult and painful to read at times and is a reminder of the lifelong effects of child sexual abuse and particularly incest. In spite of its brutal truth and tragic ending, it was a beautiful, captivating story that kept me under its spell from beginning to end. I plan to recommend this book to my book club and to read the author's first book.
  • Joan R. (Chicago, IL)
    This is an extraordinary and powerful novel that made me its captive from page one. The prologue lets the reader know that something terrible has happened to the narrator. With that foreshadowing, I followed the narrator's story from Sri Lanka to San Francisco riveted by what was slowly unfolding. Munaweera's fluid and poetic prose intensifies the first person narration and makes the story all the more moving. The story shows us in heartbreaking detail how what we do to each other leaves a mark that isn't easily erased. The narrator says at one point: "This is the history of what we do to one another. This is the story of what it means to be both a child of a mother and a child of history." This is one of the best books I read this year. A stunning achievement.
  • Iris F. (Delay beach, FL)
    What lies between us
    Every once in a while a book comes along that grabs your attention immediately so that you are almost mesmerized. This is such a book!

    Set on the island of Sri Lanka the story is told in first person. The protagonist's
    name is never mentioned. I feel that this was very purposeful. She is being brought up in luxury in a seemingly idyllic life of privilege until her mother makes a startling discovery. In a culture where the victim is ostracized for things beyond their control, her mother brings her to Americs to escape the shame.

    Upon finishing this book I loaned it to my daughter who said it just right. She said there is so much garbage out there (meaning books) that it's a treat to read a good story that is so beautifully written. I thoroughly agree. This was a wonderful read and now I'm compelled to read this authors first book. In short, I loved this book!
  • Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
    Excellent Read - Tough Subject
    Munaweera's prose is beautiful, her characters finely crafted and her ability to set the scene is uncanny. As in her first novel the story begins in war-torn Sri Lanka, but the civil war outside does not really touch our protagonist. Instead she is torn asunder by a tragedy in her childhood that she cannot escape. The first person narrative is haunting in its immediacy and we know that any respite she finds will be temporary. Unspeakable acts beget unspeakable acts, and this mother's confession is magnificent and terrible. The book stayed with me long after it ended, I will read anything Munaweera writes!

Beyond the Book:
  False Memory

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