[Epub] ↠ On Sal Mal Lane Author Ru Freeman – E-inbusiness.co.uk

On Sal Mal Lane On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman is both stunningly beautiful and at the same time deeply sad, but above all takes the reader to places most have not been and this reader knew little about, life leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war Freeman s writing is beautiful, almost poetic at times, even with such a heavy topic, the characters will imprint themselves on the reader and Freeman easily transport the reader back in time to Sri Lanka allowing the reader to view life through several well rounded, On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman is both stunningly beautiful and at the same time deeply sad, but above all takes the reader to places most have not been and this reader knew little about, life leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war Freeman s writing is beautiful, almost poetic at times, even with such a heavy topic, the characters will imprint themselves on the reader and Freeman easily transport the reader back in time to Sri Lanka allowing the reader to view life through several well rounded, flawed, and exceedingly realistic characters There are times this book is painful to read and yet Freeman s prose carries the reader through I cannot praise On Sal Mal Lane enough and it is my hope all readers will pick up a copy and learnabout the history and culture of Sri Lanka This novel is set in Sri Lanka from 1979 to 1983, a time of civil unrest and revolution on this island nation At the center of Freeman s tale is the Herath family and their neighbors on a short street, Sal Mal Lane, in the nation s capitol Colombo In telling their story, Freeman is able to show on multiple levels the growth of societal dischord in Sri Lanka Much of the book concerns the children of Sal Mal Lane and their relationships with one another Their interactions can be distilled into This novel is set in Sri Lanka from 1979 to 1983, a time of civil unrest and revolution on this island nation At the center of Freeman s tale is the Herath family and their neighbors on a short street, Sal Mal Lane, in the nation s capitol Colombo In telling their story, Freeman is able to show on multiple levels the growth of societal dischord in Sri Lanka Much of the book concerns the children of Sal Mal Lane and their relationships with one another Their interactions can be distilled into a series of parables for the adult reader to ponder The overall message seems to be that both good and evil are a part of our world and each will show itself over time This quote from an adult neighbor talking to Nihil, one of the Herath children, speaks to this point, People do not go to war, Nihil, they carry war inside them Either they have war within them or they don t have it The thing to think about is do you and I have war inside us This is a book to savor in small sips, like a fine wine The reader needs to go slowly so as not to miss too many of the life lessons that Freeman has provided a sweet and bittersweet story a compelling read about the innocence of youth, with the backdrop of social unrest in Sri Lanka in the early 1980 s and its roots, yet again, in British imperialism and its impact on those children the author builds a multi layered scenario where various families on the street live and navigate their own and their neighbors ethnic and religious stakes I was awed by how seemingly simple and innocent passages set the stage for and depicted deeper and dangerous a a sweet and bittersweet story a compelling read about the innocence of youth, with the backdrop of social unrest in Sri Lanka in the early 1980 s and its roots, yet again, in British imperialism and its impact on those children the author builds a multi layered scenario where various families on the street live and navigate their own and their neighbors ethnic and religious stakes I was awed by how seemingly simple and innocent passages set the stage for and depicted deeper and dangerous actions and feelings an ultimately satisfying read wow ps Sri Lanka s anti terrorism laws are a stark warning for the US read that, NSA Sal Mal Lane is a dead end street in the capitol of Sri Lanka On that street live people of different religions and ethnicities Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Lansis So far, on the surface they get along but a storm is brewing in the country and, with authorial intrusion, we know that things, will turn violent with time.The children of Sal Mal Lane are the focus of this delightful novel The Heruth children star in this book There is Rashmi who is perfect in he Sal Mal Lane is a dead end street in the capitol of Sri Lanka On that street live people of different religions and ethnicities Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Lansis So far, on the surface they get along but a storm is brewing in the country and, with authorial intrusion, we know that things, will turn violent with time.The children of Sal Mal Lane are the focus of this delightful novel The Heruth children star in this book There is Rashmi who is perfect in her studies and a perfectionist in every way Devi has finally attained good grades after a time of rebellion and opposition She is innocent, spoiled, impetuous, loving, a free spirit, vulnerable Nihil can see words forward and backwards and he is prescient of Devi s future Suren is a musical prodigy who wants to make his life in music despite his parents wanting him to become an engineer.On the outskirts of the central characters are Sonna, a bad boy Raju, a simple man the twins who are impoverished and other children who live on the lane.The Herath parents are quite political and stand to the left of center Mr Heruth has been involved in a strike that has gone awry with failure but he keeps fighting for the Tamil minority As he fights, the country goesandtowards the Sinhalese with everything written in their language or English Around the city, the rumors continued Rumor had it that the Tamil language would soon be banned altogether, that Tamil shopkeepers were erasing the Tamil from their signs, that Tamil politicians addressed everybody in English and did so out of fear The children will find themselves looking into a world they don t understand, one that is filled with discord, pain and uprising I found out a lot about Sri Lanka, a country that was quite foreign to me Ru Freeman does a wonderful job of educating the reader and her writing is very interesting, coming from childrens perspectives as it does I recommend this book for people who enjoy international literature On Sal Mal Lane examines the tensions in Sri Lanka in the years leading up to the Civil War 1979 1983 through the lens of the inhabitants of Sal Mal Lane, especially the children I found that this was a really effective way to tell the story and while there are dark times there are also moments when kids are just being kids and discovering who they are and who they hope to become I think that helps the book to beuniversal in its themes.The novel has a third person omniscient point of v On Sal Mal Lane examines the tensions in Sri Lanka in the years leading up to the Civil War 1979 1983 through the lens of the inhabitants of Sal Mal Lane, especially the children I found that this was a really effective way to tell the story and while there are dark times there are also moments when kids are just being kids and discovering who they are and who they hope to become I think that helps the book to beuniversal in its themes.The novel has a third person omniscient point of view so we get to know all of the main players but it focuses on the views of the kids of Sal Mal Lane, particularly the Herath children Suren, Rashmi, Nihil, and Devi The story starts out with the Heraths moving into their home and the reactions of the various neighbors, most notably the Silvas who, like the Heraths, are Sinhalese Buddhists Unlike the rest of the families on the street, the Silvas have this attitude of us vs them towards those who are not Sinhalese While the Silvas have that negative attitude towards Tamils and anyone else not like them in ethnicity or religion, the other neighbors are mostly helpful and friendly with each other with the exception of Sonna Bolling and occasionally his hot tempered dad They respect each other and they all seem to love the Herath children and look out for them It is really nice to see the sense of community in the midst of the growing strife Some of my favorite scenes in the book involved the ways that the characters came together to celebrate a holiday or helped each other in some way These scenes of peacefulness made the chaos and destruction of what was to come that muchjarring.Even though the third person omniscient point of view can create a feeling of distance between the reader and the characters, I did not find that to be the case for me I was able to connect with the story emotionally and I loved some of the characters like Devi, Raju, and Mr Niles Devi brought so much joy to her family and the community and Nihil was such a protective brother The Herath kids all seemed to touch the lives of the people around them and I was particularly touched by the way Raju grew because of their friendship Even some of the unlikable characters had depth to them which I appreciated, especially Sonna I couldn t completely despise him because there were those moments when the reader got to see his vulnerability and pain I also loved the descriptions of the food, the culture, and everyday life I did find myself consulting the glossary at the back to look up unfamiliar terms but I liked learning while I read There is also a list of characters at the front but I wish that the author had listed which family was Sinhalese, Tamil, or Burgher as that came in to play later in the book and could be confusing to keep track of.Though I connected with this book on a personal level, I don t think you have to be of Sri Lankan heritage to be moved by the story Overall I thought this was an amazing book I wish there hadn t been so much foreshadowing about certain events but other than that I really really liked it It was an emotional reading experience for me and in a way I was sad when the story was over I will definitely be picking up the author s other novel, A Disobedient Girl In Ru Freeman s On Sal Mal Lane, several families live on a quiet lane in Columbo in Sri Lanka in the years just before and during the political upheaval, riots and deaths of the early 1980s One family lacks rancor and is filled with music, sincerity, with hopes and dreams Anther family is fueled by anger and alcohol, with unspoken yearning.As these and other families who call Sal Mal Lane home celebrate their holidays, share food and games, and bring each other into their lives, missed opport In Ru Freeman s On Sal Mal Lane, several families live on a quiet lane in Columbo in Sri Lanka in the years just before and during the political upheaval, riots and deaths of the early 1980s One family lacks rancor and is filled with music, sincerity, with hopes and dreams Anther family is fueled by anger and alcohol, with unspoken yearning.As these and other families who call Sal Mal Lane home celebrate their holidays, share food and games, and bring each other into their lives, missed opportunities as seemingly trivial as gifts of strawberry milk and chocolate become harbingers of heartbreak.The world of the quiet street changes with the arrival of the Herath family, which sings together gathered around the piano The music is an important unifying factor throughout the novel It draws people to the four children oldest son Suren who lives and breathes music, oldest daughter Rashmi who is the perfect child at school, son Nihil who adores cricket but not as much as he adores and worries about protecting the youngest, daughter Devi, a carefree, lively child.One of the beauties of this novel is that these children are genuinely dear souls Their mother is a teacher who has naturally high expectations Their father, a government worker, is akin to a less biting Mr Bennet who doesn t regret his marriage while hiding behind his newspapers Their neighbors, the Silvas, consider themselves the top family of the lane They re stuffy but not overbearing Their two boys are not allowed to play with the Bolling girls.The Bollings are an extended disfunctional family of a physically damaged, angry father, a teenage son, Sonna, who is the neighborhood bully and who will break a reader s heart, and two younger unkempt, flighty daughters who are drawn to the Heraths Their friendship brings into the circle the Bolling children s uncle Raju, a mentally and physically challenged man who remains childlike and who lives with his mother Raju adores the children, especially Devi And Devi adores Raju because he is the only grown up who never tells her what she is supposed to do and not do.In another house, the Nerath children take piano lessons from Kala Niles, the grown up daughter who still lives at home Her mother is one of the homemakers on the lane Old Mr Niles and Nihil become fast friends through their love of cricket and books in one of the lovely relationships forged in this novel.There are sweet friendships among people who often don t have anything to do with each other in other circumstances The Bolling girls love being with the Heraths, who, instead of being uptight, welcome them into their home One Silva boy develops a crush on one of the Bolling girls, and they dream of going to Australia one day where their differences won t matter The Niles family blossoms when the Heraths come with their music.And then there is Sonna He s the tough guy of the neighborhood He is the one everyone fears, because he will attack It s what he learned from his angry, bitter father who was hurt in a car crash before Sonna s very eyes while trying to go off to carouse with a buddy But the Herath children cast their spell on him, too They refuse to see that there is an evil person in Sonna, no matter what cautions the other neighbors give them The missed opportunities of trying to give presents back and forth are symbols of the missed communication that can heal and strengthen personal relationships when successful, but which are bittersweet when they are not.Despite the grownups best efforts, outside political forces come into the lane There are Tamil and Sinhalese, Hindu and Catholic families, Buddhists and Muslims Far too many of the people on the lane fear and hate because they feel they are supposed to do so One family retreats when the troubles come the family members hurt only themselves.Homes are attacked and people gather together The relationships that have been formed don t all hold, but enough of them do to show that even in the face of the world as they know it falling apart, people can still be good to each other and true to themselves Just as missed opportunities are bittersweet for the children, it leads one to wonder what missed opportunities might have helped the political situation from disintegrating In the aftermath, after a haunting chapter in which another street still stands only as ashes that will collapse to the touch and which the only living thing left is not saved, people slowly try to return to the lives they once led Then tragedy strikes There is enough foreshadowing early on that it is not hard to tell who something will happen to, but there is such strong storytelling that even knowing does not take away the powerful emotional impact when that something comes.The personal and the political are woven together so finely in this novel that they do not strain against each other, but bolster the telling of the two aspects of what the Sal Mal Lane neighbors face and feel Information needed to know why it s important to know who is Sinhalese and who is Tamil is presented clearly and in time to be useful Freeman is both a journalist and novelist, so she knows how to deliver the small noticings that reveal character, and the sweep of politics that change a country L histoire d un pays travers celle d une rue de Colombo et de ses habitants d origines et de classes sociales diverses cinghalais, tamouls, musulmans, bouddhistes ou catholiques vivent ensemble dans cette impasse d un pays menac par les pr mices de la guerre civile venir Le destin d un groupe d enfants embarqu s malgr eux dans des histoires d adultes, entre rires et larmes, entre tendresse et violence Une histoire douce am re o chacun cherche sa place au sein d une famille, d un quart L histoire d un pays travers celle d une rue de Colombo et de ses habitants d origines et de classes sociales diverses cinghalais, tamouls, musulmans, bouddhistes ou catholiques vivent ensemble dans cette impasse d un pays menac par les pr mices de la guerre civile venir Le destin d un groupe d enfants embarqu s malgr eux dans des histoires d adultes, entre rires et larmes, entre tendresse et violence Une histoire douce am re o chacun cherche sa place au sein d une famille, d un quartier, d une ethnie et d une soci t que les tensions diverses gangr nent.J ai beaucoup aim ce roman, que ce soit l histoire ou les personnages tous attachants leur fa on A travers la vie de ce quartier c est l histoire du Sri Lanka et des v nements qui ont men la guerre civile que l on d couvre et leurs cons quences sur la vie de ces gens qui vivaient en harmonie sans se pr occuper de religions ou d appartenance une ethnie Comme souvent en temps de guerre, les enfants sont les premiers touch s, petites victimes collat rales de la haine et de la b tise des adultes, travers la jalousie des uns, l ignorance des autres, les rumeurs sans fondement et les tensions sociales Malgr cela ils essaient tant bien que mal de prot ger leur petit monde, des amours naissent et des amiti s se font et se d font On passe du rire aux larmes en une page et a fait du bien J ai aim les relations qui se cr ent entre certains des personnages, comme Devi et Oncle Raju Ou Nihil et Mr Niles, c est bouleversant et plein de tendresse A travers ces familles et l volution des personnages ce sont les 5 ans qui pr c dent la guerre civile que l on survole, les joies, les peines, les drames et les espoirs qui forgent et d voilent les caract res de tout ce petit monde.En r alit , c est un roman d amour, amour pour un pays, pour des hommes et des femmes, pour des fr res et s urs que Ru Freeman a crit car chaque ligne, chaque page on ressent tout l amour qu elle porte ses personnages L criture immersive est cisel e et pleine de po sie, elle plonge le lecteur au milieu des saveurs, des parfums, du son du piano, de la musicalit des langues parl es dans l impasse C est riche, beau, flamboyant et plein de couleurs J ai aussi beaucoup aim la fa on dont l auteur r ussit nous donner quelques cl s pour comprendre tout ce qui fait la complexit de cette soci t codifi e, pluriethnique qui reste malgr tout scl ros e et enferm e dans ses certitudes Si Sal Mal Lane repr sente elle seule la complexit de cette soci t , travers ses habitants aux origines si diverses, elle finira aussi par cristalliser les ranc urs et les drames autour d eux alors quand la guerre va clater, c est tout ce petit monde l quilibre fragile qui finira par s crouler.Je vous invite vraiment d couvrir les questions politiques de Devi, couter Suren au piano et rire avec les jumelles Rose et Dolly Une mention sp ciale pour le soin apport par les Editions Zo la qualit de l objet livre avec un papier de qualit et la pr sence d un glossaire, d un petit r capitulatif des personnages par famille, d un plan de la rue et d une carte du pays I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reaction waslike Oh This It seemed very daunting once it was in hand because I don t know anything about Sri Lanka, and besides, there was a new Patrick Ness coming out, and a new Gentlemen Bastards, so I had THINGS to do.I I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reaction waslike Oh This It seemed very daunting once it was in hand because I don t know anything about Sri Lanka, and besides, there was a new Patrick Ness coming out, and a new Gentlemen Bastards, so I had THINGS to do.It ended up being really great It reminded me a little of To Kill A Mockingbird, not in style or tone, but because of the device of framing social, cultural, and political issues with the goings on of a bunch of little kids In this case, the issues are all related to the conflicts between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the early 80s.Going into the book with zero knowledge about these events, I was worried it would be difficult to follow, but the book was impressively designed to keep the threads moving along in an easy way, especially for ignorant people such as me And it s a lot of complicated history and issues The other side of this coin is that some of the secondary characters feel a bit stock but I m not quite convinced that s a criticism because it felt like a deliberate choice on the part of the author to assist less familiar readers with staying engaged My personal strategy was to read about 1 3 of the book to get the general gist of what was going on, and then I took a break for some googling of the various historical incidents and political events being referenced Okay, strategy makes it sound like I did that on purpose, when it waslike the timing worked out that way, but I would recommend it to anyone who would like an introduction or refresher on the issues surrounding the Sinhalese majority or the Tamil minority and then the religious minorities within each group of Sri Lanka Because so much of the book is spent with the various, somewhat dreamy, adventures of the children of the families who live on one small residential street, there was something about it that reminded me of The Penderwicks, had The Penderwicks been written for adults and set against a backdrop of race riots The writing here is lovely, and achieves that same effect of creating a children s world that feels both idyllic and realistic.I have one quibble, which is a tiny part of the book, and I realize it seems like the most complainy, nitpicky thing in the entire world, but for some reason it nagged at me a lot The events of the book are very clearly set in certain years they are labelled, that is how clear it is And one of the things the kids do is listen to pop music on the BBC Now, I realize the author is a young person, and I m sure all 80s music is the same to her, but there were a few specific songs mentioned that didn t come out until a few years later Maybe this wouldn t matter so much to me in a book where the point was to present the 80s in a general sense, but because the plot of this book is so closely tied to real life political events, the progression of the years in the lives of the kids seemsimportant to me A Tender, Evocative Novel, In The Tradition Of In The Time Of The Butterflies And The Kite Runner, About The Years Leading Up To The Sri Lankan Civil WarOn 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 After seeing this book receive such warm praise from Christina T at Reading Extensively, I knew I wanted to check it out I was terrified though when I opened the book and had trouble focusing It s told in omniscient third person from the perspective of the street following a huge crowd of people with particular focus on the four children of the Herath family Suren, Rashmi, Nihil, and beloved youngest Devi.Once I had a handle on who everyone was, I really enjoyed this story I loved the huge c After seeing this book receive such warm praise from Christina T at Reading Extensively, I knew I wanted to check it out I was terrified though when I opened the book and had trouble focusing It s told in omniscient third person from the perspective of the street following a huge crowd of people with particular focus on the four children of the Herath family Suren, Rashmi, Nihil, and beloved youngest Devi.Once I had a handle on who everyone was, I really enjoyed this story I loved the huge cast of characters and the way their lives intersected, how the mistreatment of one person led to cruelty of another or the kindness of people unfamiliar with each other brightened the whole place The book takes place over five years from 1979 1983 and we get to see a lot of changes in the lives of the people on this lane It s very rich from the descriptions of colors to the amazing sounding food and I think it will definitely appeal to fans of literary fiction and book clubs.However, for me there were also a lot of stylistic and writing decisions that made it difficult to become fully immersed First was the writing The best way I can describe it is that there are a lot of commas, connecting phrases for longer sentences and it was not a writing style that clicked with me Second, as mentioned above, there are a lot of characters I loved that there was a glossary of the slang and such used throughout the book There is a map showing where each family lived as well as a list of characters I would have appreciated if that list identified who was Tamil, Sinhalese, Burgher, etc This connects to my third point, which is my almost nonexistent knowledge of Sri Lankan history I did know vaguely about the Tamil Tigers and I could guess some things about colonialism based on my knowledge of British imperialism in India but a lot of the complexities were over my head I feel like Freeman may have assumedfamiliarity with the history on the part of her audience than I possessed An author s note with additional references might have been helpful Obviously these are all pretty particular to me but may apply to others as well.My big advice would be to brush up on the Sri Lankan Civil War and check out a sample chapter if you re able, to see if you can handle this It is definitely worth it


About the Author: Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman b 1967 is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl Atria Simon Schuster, 2009 , and On Sal Mal Lane Graywolf Press , a NYT Editor s Choice Book Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese She is e Ru Freeman b 1967 is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl Atria Simon Schuster, 2009 , and On Sal Mal Lane Graywolf Press , a NYT Editor s Choice Book Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese She is editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition American Writers on Palestine OR Books, 2015 , a collection of the voices of 65 American poets and writers speaking about America s dis engagement with Palestine Freeman 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, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman Freeman writes for the Huffington Post on books and politics


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