Reviews of Homesick by Roshi Fernando

Homesick

by Roshi Fernando

Homesick by Roshi Fernando X
Homesick by Roshi Fernando
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 288 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2013, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A stunning debut novel about an extended Sri Lankan family - a kaleidoscopic view of contemporary immigrant life, by turns darkly funny, sad, poignant, and uproariously beautiful.

From the winner of the 2009 Impress Prize for New Writers (U.K.) and finalist for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, a stunning debut novel about an extended Sri Lankan family - a kaleidoscopic view of contemporary immigrant life, by turns darkly funny, sad, poignant, and uproariously beautiful.

It's New Year's Eve 1982. At Victor and Nandini's home in southeast London, the family and their friends gather to ring in the new year. Whiskey and arrack have been poured, poppadoms are freshly fried, and baila music is on the stereo. Upstairs, the teenagers have gathered around the television to watch The Godfather again while drinking pilfered wine. Moving back and forth in time, from the 1970s to the present day, and from London to Sri Lanka and back again, we follow Victor and Nandini's children: Rohan, Gehan, and in particular dyslexic Preethi - funny, brash, and ultimately fragile. We also meet troubled Lolly and her beautiful sister Deirdre; wonderful Auntie Gertie; and terrible Kumar, whose dark deed will haunt the family.

Chapter 1

Victor is thinking of other parties, of his childhood: quiet, dignified, the productions of an excitable wife of a dour clergyman. Homemade marshmallows, he remembers, lightly coloured with cochineal, dusted with icing sugar. He stands in the hallway of his own home in southeast London, looking at the late afternoon sun colouring everything with a honey glaze. My, he thinks, he can even see his own pudgy hand, reaching up to the table to steal a sweet, and a servant clucking away behind him, shoo-shooing him, as if he were an escaped hen. If his father had seen him, there would have been the nasty, damning words about thieves, about hell. He hears Preethi and Nandini in the kitchen, the pan lids banging, the murmured voices, one of them chopping at the table, a small laughter. I am rich, he thinks.

He walks into the sitting room, adjusts cushions on the plush cream sofas, a recent investment. The plastic covers have been removed for this evening but will go back tomorrow: ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. What does the title mean? Who is homesick? Who isn't?

  2. Would you call this a novel or a collection of connected stories? Why?

  3. Throughout the book, Fernando moves forward and backward in time, with characters coming to the forefront and receding. What was Fernando's intent? What effect does this have on you, the reader?

  4. Who is the main character in the book? Who did you feel most connected to?

  5. In the title story, the younger generation watches The Godfather over and over on video. What connections can you draw between that film and Homesick?

  6. Racism and anti-immigrant sentiments are laced throughout the book. Which characters seem best equipped to deal with the world in which they live? Who seemed most adversely affected by ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In the end, Homesick emerges as a moving and powerful novel about Sri Lankans in England. In showcasing her characters' everyday anxieties and triumphs, Fernando effectively portrays a slice of humanity we can all - immigrants or not - identify with readily. It is this empathy that Fernando manages to elicit from her readers and that makes Homesick such a compelling, triumphant debut...continued

Full Review (622 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Poornima Apte).

Media Reviews

Literary Review (UK)
Fernando's observations are fresh and her style sharp. She can recreate a whole childhood's worth of low-key resentment in a couple of lines... Fernando is serious but never earnest; her compassion for her misguided characters is infectious, and the book leaves you with an uplifting glow.

The Independent (UK)
Roshi Fernando is a powerful new voice... [In Homesick], charm, humour and poignancy alternate with dark trials... The book offers complex, mosaic characters and compelling storylines... Fernando's insight, wit, sensitivity and versatility mark her as a striking new talent.

The Observer (UK)
Tender, uplifting and funny.

The Sunday Times (UK)
It is notoriously difficult to capture an authentic immigrant voice. [Homesick] manage[s] it brilliantly... A debut that can confidently sit alongside the likes of Zadie Smith's White Teeth and Andrea Levy's Small Island... [Homesick] address[es] the trials of marriage, the coming to terms with sexuality and the need to find an identity in terms that are universal to all.

Financial Times
Everyone in Homesick seeks to belong - to a place, a community - and Fernando portrays their plight with a tenderness that extends to the very structure of [her book]... Home, in Fernando's world, is not a resting place, but rather the dream of a ritual, both inherited and of our own invention.

Kirkus Reviews
Fernando writes expressively and finds an appropriate emotional correlative to convey a variety of tones, from nostalgic to tragic.

The Irish Times
Exuberant... A rambunctious portrait of an extended Sri Lankan family in south London... as addictive as any full-length book by Vikram Seth or Michael Ondaatje.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Game of Cricket

In Homesick, Victor, a Sri Lankan immigrant to England, views his native country's cricket team as his own. He owes allegiance to them and takes pride in their successes. Roshi Fernando uses this sport as a metaphor for her character's desire to break free of colonial ties.

cricket bats The game of cricket is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a game played with a ball and bat by two sides of usually 11 players each on a large field centering upon two wickets each defended by a batsman." Possibly an ancestor of American baseball, the sport plays somewhat similarly. One person, called the "bowler," pitches (or "delivers") a hard leather ball down a 22-yard-long strip of dirt (called the "pitch") toward the other team's batter who is protecting his ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Homesick, try these:

  • America Is Not the Heart jacket

    America Is Not the Heart

    by Elaine Castillo

    Published 2019

    About this book

    More by this author

    With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another.

  • Gateway to the Moon jacket

    Gateway to the Moon

    by Mary Morris

    Published 2019

    About this book

    From award-winning novelist Mary Morris comes the remarkable story of a remote New Mexican town coming to grips with a dark history it never imagined.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Lonely People
    All the Lonely People
    by Mike Gayle
    Mike Gayle's charming novel All the Lonely People introduces us to Hubert Bird, an 82-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: Perish
    Perish
    by LaToya Watkins
    It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of ...
  • Book Jacket: Afterlives
    Afterlives
    by Abdulrazak Gurnah
    Afterlives, from Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, begins in late 19th century East Africa in ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Who Said...

There is no worse robber than a bad book.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.