I received this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera is a story told about two opposing sides over the course of decades that surrounded the Sri Lankan civil war.
A quick summary explains this complex-in-a-fabulous-way storyline:
Yasodhara tells the tale of her own Sinhala clan first. As a child in idyllic Colombo, her life is shaped by social hierarchy, her parents’ ambitions, teenage love and most importantly, the differences between the Tamil and Sinhala people who share the island. When peace is shattered, Yasodhara’s family flees to Los Angeles.
Saraswathi is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, with hopes to become a teacher. But her dreams are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the heart of the conflict. A conflict that will eventually connect her to Yasodhara in in unexpected ways.
Island of a Thousand Mirrors was complicated and intense, but also really moving. I was captivated by the storylines of each woman, of Sri Lanka’s civil war, and of the daily life. I was devastated and shocked by the ending (as only a good author can make you feel) and can’t stop thinking of this book.
Munaweera does not tell a happy tale. She tells a REAL tale, reminiscent of NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names and Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them. None of these books are “happy” but they are gritty, real, moving, and what reading is about.
Not a fan of real and gritty? Well, try it out and follow it up with a happy story after.
You don’t be disappointed.
What about you? Gritty reads lover? Or more of a happy ending fan?