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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Written from the heart, 15 Nov 2013
By 
Andrew M (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
The architects of the British Empire certainly weren't averse to moving populations around the globe to suit their needs, whether by force, coercion or inducement, but as the author points out Tamil kingdoms were firmly established in Ceylon/Sri Lanka long before the first European sails appeared on the horizon. Unfortunately after many centuries' shared occupation of the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean' with its Sinhalese majority by the 1970s things had begun to go wrong between the Tamil minority in the less hospitable climate and terrain of the north and their neighbours in the lush and fertile south and by the mid-1980s a brutal and protracted civil war had erupted, leaving scars that are keenly felt to this day and a Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora spread across five continents.

This delightful book, a labour of love by the daughter of a Tamil doctor who left the island in the late sixties to study on a shoestring in the UK, unaware that he would never return to work in the country of his birth, tells the human story behind the headlines, tracing her family's history from her ancestors' conversion to Christianity in the early nineteenth century to the present day, with family members scattered worldwide but surviving and flourishing. Not only are the descriptions of life in Sri Lanka 'before the fall' a beautiful account of a lifestyle, landscape and culture now all but vanished, but the story of the stoical and quietly determined manner in which her parents and others of their generation established new lives among strangers thousands of miles from their home and relations in an era before the internet, global mobile phone coverage and cheap international flights makes moving and inspirational reading. It's difficult to imagine the experience of moving from an idyllic tropical island, leaving your children behind in the care of elderly grandparents, to the cold bleak alien landscape of Glasgow in the early seventies, where Sri Lankan expats were unknown, 'No Blacks' was an acceptable policy for letting property and a lonely and isolated couple had to struggle to make ends meet on a pittance in a country where even their familiar comfort foods were unheard of.

No less importantly the book is also a compelling and much needed reminder of everything we have gained, particularly in the NHS, from the arrival of this particular wave of what are too often casually dismissed as 'economic migrants'. The story gently but firmly asserts the old-fashioned virtues of resilience, self-sufficiency, service to others, commitment to one's faith and devotion to duty and family, and leaves you full of admiration for the way in which this family, and doubtless many others like it, have quietly triumphed over adversity.

With the current Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting controversially taking place in Sri Lanka and David Cameron refusing to follow the example of other Commonwealth leaders by boycotting the event in protest at the Sri Lankan government's human rights record this story makes timely and enlightening reading. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful autobiographical book which tells the story of a doctor's ..., 19 July 2014
By 
A. Paton (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is a wonderful autobiographical book which tells the story of a doctor's family in Ceylon (before it was renamed "Sri Lanka"), told from the viewpoint of a daughter, now herself a doctor. It provides a wonderfully evocative description of family life in the years before the Civil War between the Sinhalese government and the Tamils. It continues with the trials and tribulations of the extended family, culminating in most members electing to live outside Ceylon. The author eventually relocated to Scotland and the story continues to the present day. A beautiful and simply written book which should help those unfamiliar with the struggle in Sri Lanka, which, to some extent continues today, to understand the causes and suffering of the people. The British must take some responsibility for not intervening to stop the war, given that Sri Lanka is part of the Commonwealth, and was, for many years, administered by Britain.
I heartily recommend this wonderful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating family history, 7 Oct 2013
A poignant insight into a family's struggle for survival in a war torn country and the sacrifices they had to go through.
An inspirational read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring piece of social history, 27 July 2014
This review is from: The Land of Lost Content (Kindle Edition)
An inspiring piece of social history. This book tells the story of a family caught in events in the Sri Lankan civil war, and their lives in Sri Lanka and then the UK. Told with passion, the story is a very personal account of obstacles and hope. Complete with photos, a family tree and a glossary, the reader can almost step into the story themselves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable family story, 24 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Land of Lost Content (Kindle Edition)
This beautifully written book landed on my door mat from Goodreads just before I was to go on holiday. So I read this under the palm trees.

This true story is told by the daughter of a Tamil doctor who left Sri Lanka before the civil war during the 1960s/70s with a few pounds to live in Britain. The children were left with their grandmother.
These are the times when people from the fallen empire would seek work either for a better or safer life. The children of the family eventually follow and in time work for the NHS and I believe the NHS and patients gained such a lot from them.

I visited Sri Lanka a number of years ago, and was fascinated by old Ceylon and the culture disappeared. For me growing up at this time it is hard to imagine being wrenched from your country to another at a time of racism and “send the blacks home”- that part saddens me that people were like that. Today Asian and continental shops are everywhere and we can cook up a dish from any nationality – then they were unable to eat the foods they grew up with. As Billy Connolly described Glasgow growing up it was if the lights were switched off- to come to a dark industrial area from sunshine and palm trees must have seemed miserable.

Despite all of this the family flourished.

It is a “who do you think you are” story of family trees and the family living in various parts of the world.

The book is told with real feeling and being born in the 60s in Edinburgh I can understand part of the story.

Dr Sanders – I will pass this book on so that others can read this remarkable story
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story of a first generation immigrant., 31 May 2014
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This review is from: The Land of Lost Content (Kindle Edition)
An easy to read and well narrated story of a first generation of immigrants view of both the world left behind and the world they have come to live in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this special book, 21 Feb 2014
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Very personal account of a particular remarkable family before and after the Tamil uprising in Northern Sri Lanka. Very lively, well-told and wise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a magical hart warming narrative, 18 Oct 2013
this beautifully written story of a family's triumphs agents all the odds the land of lost content is definitely a must read book this intriguing narrative tells an enchanting tale of a family fleeing civil war...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 18 Oct 2013
By 
P. Taylor (uk) - See all my reviews
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The book was delivered very quickly after placing my order.

When I was at school our class was introduced to a new member who was a boy whose family had fled Sri Lanka in troubled times. He was a pleasant boy but I was too young to appreciate the sacrifice his family had made. I have visited Sri Lanka both during the war and afterwards, for holidays. I found this book to be a great way of seeing things from the view of the people whos lives were torn apart by the conflict. The book describes the lifestyles which they had enjoyed and sadly left behind when the family was forced to leave the country. It gives also a great insite into the new lives which the family pieced together in UK.

The book is written with great feeling, giving personal accounts of many aspects of their lives.

I am so glad I have purchased it and would recommend - a fascinating read.

Thank you Sureshini for taking the time to put this book together.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Land of Lost Content by Sureshini Sanders, 17 Sep 2013
The book is a historical narrative from the 1960s of the experiences of a young family in Sri Lanka, through the eyes of a 7 year old girl, who is one of three siblings in the family. A great deal of research has gone into providing the histories of the various branches of the family tree: a task made difficult by the diaspora of Tamil speaking people from the Island, and the passing away of the more senior members of the family. I found some of the information enlightening and helpful in understanding my own family background.

A description of life in Jaffna was very relevant, as it would be different, to that in the South of the Island. Religion played an important role in the family and a deep sense of faith in God prevails even to this day. A sensitivity to the family environment and the attention to detail made the past come alive for me; I felt, as if I was there with her at the time.

Ranee Marmie (Mrs. Harriet Sanders, nee Handy) was very kind, understanding, and loving to my brother and I, when we were sent to Guru Vasa, in order to improve our appreciation of the Tamil language; she became a beacon of hope to me, in an otherwise shadowy world. I am therefore comforted, that her granddaughter has found solace amongst the people and the countryside of Scotland.

The consequences of the political exchanges in Sri Lanka have had a deep impact on the Author, sufficient for her to want to put her thoughts and emotions into words, by writing the book, which will remain a poignant legacy for generations to come in her family.

John Handy
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