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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 by Ru Freeman X
On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman
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  • Published May 2013
    336 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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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

This information about On Sal Mal Lane was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ru Freeman Author Biography

Photo: Hasadri Freeman

Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally, including in the UK Guardian, The Boston Globe, and the New York Times. She 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, the Virginia Center for the ...

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