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#74 ~ Love Marriage

Cover for Love Marriage

Love Marriage by V. V. Ganeshananthan

This debut novel tells the story of Yalini, a young woman who was born in the United States to parents who grew up in Sri Lanka. What makes her parents special is that they had a Love Marriage. They fell in love and decided to marry on their own. Their relationship was not Proper in that family did not make the arrangements for them. Because of this, there was heartache, albeit short-lived due to the distance, for both families. Yalini’s maternal uncle Kumaran went so far as to confront Yalini’s father’s family. When Kumaran comes to the Canada with terminal cancer, Yalini confronts the past not only of her family, but of Sri Lanka as well.

Before reading this novel, I knew very little about Sri Lanka. Learning about the history of this small nation was the most interesting part of this novel. Although I very much remember the terrible tsunami which hit there very recently, I was very interested in history that has taken place in Jaffna. I found the story relating to the Tamil Tigers very interesting and I plan to read more about them on my own.

Overall, I found the prose to be very self-conscious. I always felt the author’s presence and because of that, I never got lost in what could have been an engrossing story. I believe that this story would have flowed so beautifully if it were allowed free from Ganeshananthan’s tight control over style.

Despite the issues I had with the writing, this book is an example of what can make reading fiction so powerful – igniting a reader’s desire to learn about someone or something new. Encouraging personal growth is no small accomplishment. I would recommend this novel to anyone who might be interested in Sri Lanka, most specifically about the Tamil Tigers.

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8 Comments

  • At 2008.05.30 16:44, Devourer of Books said:

    Good review! I’m getting fyrefly’s copy (we’re trading, I’m giving her The Botany of Desire). I’m glad that I can go into it having heard these reviews so that my expectations are only so-so, but I’m also very excited to read it, primarily for the cultural/makes you want to learn more aspect.

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    • At 2008.05.30 16:56, bethany canfield said:

      ha! great review! I laugh because this is the one that I should be reading right now! I will get to it soon, so that LT doesn’t zap me. Glad to see your review though.

      Have a great weekend!

      • At 2008.05.30 17:13, fyreflybooks said:

        Self-conscious is a perfect word for her writing style. Very nice review.

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        • At 2008.06.04 14:05, Aarti said:

          I think her writing was very self-conscious, too. My review on my blog gets more into my thoughts on her friendship with the guy at college, but overall, I thought the book didn’t really resolve anything that was presented at the start. I don’t think we got to know any of the characters well at all.

          And really- what’s with the lack of quotation marks? 🙂

          • At 2008.06.04 14:26, Literate Housewife said:

            I completely agree with you, Aarti. I can’t remember whose review this was (might have been fyrefly’s), but she kept forgetting the name of the narrator. Amen! I got more attached to the twin who had the terrible accident than I ever did to the narrator.

            I also was somewhat annoyed by the lack of quotation marks. I chalked it up to her trying to be clever. There are very few authors that kind of thing works for. For this novel it just served to keep the reader at a distance.

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            • At 2008.06.04 19:34, fyreflybooks said:

              Yeah, that was me that couldn’t remember the narrator’s name while reading… and, a week and a half post-finishing, can’t remember it at all.

              The lack of punctuation thing always drives me nuts. I refuse to actually read one of Cormac McCarthy’s books in paper form, after my roommate told me that that was “just his style”. Blech.

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              • At 2008.06.19 21:36, bethany canfield said:

                I actually really liked this book! I did not feel the same way you did about the writing, it didn’t bother me at all.

                Good review though, I will link to it on mine.

                • At 2008.06.20 10:43, Literate Housewife said:

                  Bethany, sometimes I can get over the writer’s style and sometimes I can’t. I don’t know why that is. It’s something to think about.

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