Beguiled by promises of wealth, fourteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her native Ceylon for Malaysia and marriage to a man many years her senior. But Ayah has lied to her and her family about his circumstances and in fact lives in poverty. A woman of formidable energy and intelligence, Lakshmi provides security, if not luxury, for her family, though at a considerable emotional cost. Then the Japanese army invades during WWII. On the eve of peace, her beloved eldest daughter is raped and killed by the occupying army. The family bears deep scars and inflicts those wounds on the next generation. But in Nisha, Lakshmi's great-granddaughter, it is as if Fate has come full circle and the novel ends on a note of reconciliation and hope.
Rani Manicka was born in Malaysia and spent her childhood on a long white, beach in the company of natural storytellers. But when she was six, she was stuffed into a uniform and banished to school. In protest, she quickly mastered the art of reading novels during class. Though, she had never dreamed of writing herself, a chance encounter with a woman scorned in an Italian restaurant inspired her first plot.
Her first novel The Rice Mother, Infused with her own Sri Lankan family history, is a vividly imaginative story about the frailties of human nature and the terrible consequences of war. It won a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003. Her subsequent novel, Touching Earth is a dark and compelling tale of love, betrayal and addiction. The Japanese Lover, set in Malaya during the Japanese occupation is an absorbing tale of the intense passion between captor and captured. Rani's books have been translated into 26 languages. She lives with the two great loves of her life; Rick and their beautiful son/dog, Ty.
Rani Manicka's latest novel BLACK JACK is out NOW