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Mosquito Paperback – 2 Sep 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress; (Reissue) edition (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007233663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007233663
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘Heart-rending…Readers of this powerful novel cannot fail to be moved…but they will also realise that, as well as being a rebuke to indifference, the book is also about hope and survival.’ Christopher Ondaatje, Spectator

‘“Mosquito” plays with sensuous mixes of human bestiality and natural beauty…It is in this continuing agency of remembered love – presented as the colours, sounds and smells of art, in dialogue with beauty and horror – that the uplifting politics of this fine novel lies.’ Independent

‘“Mosquito” lyrically captures a country drenched in both incomparable beauty and the stink of hatred.’ Guardian

‘Lovely, vividly described.’ The Times

‘Tearne brings her skills as a painter to her writing, creating some extraordinarily lovely portraits of Sri Lankan land and seascapes, a stunning backdrop to the changing horrors of the country’s 20-year civil war. Anyone who has visited, or has a passing interest in Sri Lanka, should read this beautiful novel.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘“Mosquito” is a complex, ambitious book from a writer with a real talent for language. We will be hearing a great deal about Ms. Tearne in the future.’ Lauren B. Davis, author of ‘The Stubborn Season’ and ‘The Radiant City’

From the Back Cover

When Theo returns to his native Sri Lanka after his wife's death, he hopes to escape his loss amidst the lush landscape of his increasingly war-torn country. But as he gives himself up to life in his beautiful, tortured land, he finds himself slipping into friendship with an artistic young girl, Nulani – a friendship that blossoms into love. Under the threat of civil war, as the quiet coastal town fills with whispers and suspicions, their affair offers a glimmer of hope to a country on the brink of destruction.

But all too soon, the violence that casts an ominous shadow over their love explodes. No-one, it seems, is safe; only the sea and the land remain breathtakingly lovely. As the country descends into a morass of violence and hatred, the tragedy of civil conflict spreads like a poison among friends and lovers sickened by the face of war. Ultimately, each of them will be tested in the most terrible ways…

Beautifully written, by turns heartbreaking and uplifting, “Mosquito” is a first novel of remarkable and compelling power.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I already knew and loved the author's work as a painter, and was curious to see what her fiction would be like. I was not disappointed. The artist is evident in the way that Roma Tearne's writing evokes a sense of place, making you feel that you have visited Sri Lanka yourself. You feel the heat, hear sound of the sea and monsoon rain and sense and smell the fruits and flowers. However, what was new and exiting for me was the strength of the narrative. The book skillfully interweaves tender and beautiful love stories through a powerful telling of the desperate and senseless violence and human exploitation that is civil war. The book does not shrink from showing us the horror of bombings and torture, but at no time are the descriptions merely there to shock: she knows exactly when to stop and when less is more. Ultimately though, Mosquito is a story that inspires hope, achieved through moving and unsentimental stories of love: the hero Theo's love for Anna his dead wife and for the young Sri Lankan girl Nulani, the love of the housekeeper for Theo and Nulani, and the love between Theo's oldest friends, whose relationship is tested to the core by the dark events of the civil war. I couldn't put it down, and thoroughly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
The blurb on the back says Roma Tearne is an artist. I might have guessed, because this book is an assault on the senses - the thin whine of swarming mosquitoes, night flowers blooming in ghostly clusters, smells of coconut and linseed oil, of hot steam and rainy morning breakfast. Tearne has the deftest way of capturing an image and giving it her own wry twist:

'It was a useless house really, everything was broken or badly mended, everything was covered in fine sea sand, caked in old sweat and unhappiness.'

So what is Mosquito about? It's a love story and it's set in Sri Lanka. A middle-aged English writer falls for a local girl, who flits in and out of his life in much the same way as the iridescent butterflies. He can't quite keep a hold of her. And then there is the rival - a boy of her own age with a complicated past. For Sri Lanka is a complicated country, torn by war and the scars of that war. Tearne is a story teller - she's not out to make political points - but the war does intrude, it brings menace and bitterness and ultimately, violence.

Tearne's writing is so achingly vivid, it's hard to believe that she left Sri Lanka when she was only ten years old. It's equally hard to believe this is her first novel. It was a joy to read - and I hope she's writing another.
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Format: Paperback
This is a truly remarkable first novel. In it Roma Tearne has managed

to combine a fast moving and exciting story with the most splendid

evocation of tropical Sri Lanka in the context of a war which is as

relevant today as it was several years ago. The story powerfully

gripping, and few people will be able to put it down once they begin

it. The narrative builds slowly and lyrically at first but then

starts to move along with and almost vertiginous speed producing

surprising and arresting twists and turns. The story is set mainly in

the author's native Sri Lanka, with its dense, wet forests, its long

open beaches, its turquoise seas and its vividly coloured plants. The

characters pass their life in what should be an Edenic world but the

shadow of war falls across the land as it falls, too, across the

lives of the characters. Without warning this fertile and burgeoning

world is split open and the exotic idyll is disturbed in the most

violent and unexpected way. The conflict is, of course, the same one

which breeds death and destruction in Sri Lanka today, the civil war

which broke out between the Tamils and the Singhalese after the

withdrawal of British rule in 1945. According to the book jacket it

was this struggle which forced author's parents to flee the island in

the 1960s, and the incidents have clearly made an indelible

impression on the child's imagination.

The dominant impression of reading this book involves light and

colour, of shade, of dark and of half-light.
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By Debs VINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. It has all the elements of a good story - a poignant love story with the sort of love that survives against all the odds, suspense, action, excitement, beautiful descriptions....but for some reason it failed to engage me fully. I can't quite put my finger on why this was so. I think I partly felt uncomfortable with the elements of the love story - firstly there was the enormous age difference between the two and secondly Nulani is portrayed as having met the love of her life, the one that she cannot exist without, the all-consuming love that can never be found again, when she is only 16 and a naive, inexperienced 16 at that. I think the cynic in me (and the teacher in me who teaches pupils of this age group) wondered if a girl of Nulani's age and inexperience could formulate a love of this depth. Perhaps I am wrong, but for me it didn't quite ring true. And it was the same with the male protagonist, Theo. Theo never quite tells us what it is about Nulani that he loves; we certainly feel that she brings out the best of him especially after the tragedy of his wife's death and he definitely wants to protect her and make her happy, and there are hints that she reminds him of his dead wife, but we never know what it is about Nulani that draws him so strongly. Again, my resident cynical nature wondered if a man more than double her age and vastly more experienced and worldly, would love a teenager in this way. Perhaps these incongruities are what tainted my enjoyment of the novel.

Having said that, however, I must confess that the writing style was beautifully evocative.
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