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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good - until the end, 11 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Brixton Beach (Paperback)
While the novel's opening is very arresting, and the descriptions of Sri Lankan life and the conflict's impact on those involved are very well observed, I felt the book was spoiled by its contrived ending. The problems begin with the arrival of Simon, whom I found to be emotionally stunted and unsympathetic - with all that time spent in his room listening to Tosca and mooning over lost opportunities in his youth, as well as being generally useless, it's no wonder his wife dislikes him! Considering the background of her father's betrayal of his family (which Tearne omits to reference), I also found it hard to imagine what the normally empathetic Alice saw in him. Certainly, the author deals with his desertion of his family very matter of factly. All in all, he is very self absorbed and I found this hard to like - he wasn't exactly deserving of the heroine and the far more suitable Janake was dismissed as quickly as Tessa. It's a shame - as a writer, Tearne is highly descriptive and evocative. But I felt the ending was rushed.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 May 2011 19:18:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 May 2011 19:21:50 BDT
Brixton Beach
I agree with Mrs Pierce, that the life in London was very sad amnd soul-destoying. I read this because my husband was from Sri Lanka and I still visit family regularly and my niece and husband lived in London for 5 years and also spent time with them there. I will always remener the day that he heard his cousin, a high-ranking officer, was blown up in his official car. Last time I was there I bought a book the Sri Lankan Question, actually a series of newspaper articles about the causes of dissent between Tamils and Singhalese (an extremely peace-loving people - Buddhist tradition teaches them to respect all life down to the ants in your room! So the first part of the book I was very familiar with the area and the way of life.

The second part I found very difficult and unsatisfactory. I couldn't understand why the family ties were so neglected. What is difficult to stomach sometimes as an outsider looking in is how we whites are not accepted. I would have expected a return to Sri Lanka when a crisis arose, especially as the family seems to have made no ties in England. I can only think that they could not afford the fare.

I myself did not find myself feeling accepted until very recently, when I went last year and my brother-in-law was dying in hospital in Colombo and I visited every day and was thrilled that he recognised me. I also helped with the children and the housework and generally made a contribution. Now they keep in touch and always mention what a comfort it was.

reading the section set around Mount Lavinia hotel brings such nostalgia knowing that area so well and I long to be back there. It is really evocative of how caring and involved the teachers are in the education of the children. Education is THE most important route to a better life for them and the children go to classes on Saturdays as well.

Such a pity that the London part of the book seemed to have no substance to it.Brixton Beach

Posted on 17 Aug 2011 14:33:00 BDT
I absolutely loved this book but cannot agree more than once they left Mount Lavinia (which I want to visit because of this book) it did seem the ending was rushed. I LOVED THIS BOOK.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 12:44:00 BDT
I highly recommend her short story collection "The Dark Side of the World", and as someone with experience of the island, think you would find these very relevant and interesting.
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