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Love Marriage: A Novel Paperback – April 8, 2008
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More About the Author
Random House published her first novel, Love Marriage, in April 2008. The book was longlisted for the Orange Prize and named one of Washington Post Book World's Best of 2008, as well as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. It has been translated into several languages.
She now teaches at the University of Michigan, where she is the Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Writing. For more information, visit www.vasugi.com
Top Customer Reviews
The episodic, almost staccato manner in which the story is told works effectively, both as a way of flitting between points in time and vividly rendered spaces in the characters' hearts and as a way of muting the effect of the aforementioned rhetorical flourishes. The limning of the two worlds Yalini straddles is skillful, with the Sri Lankan parts being particularly effective (I actually found myself wanting more of the Sri Lankan story, particularly the Tigers, than we get). The stories of a number of the supporting characters in this novel--aunts and uncles and cousins--are three-dimensional and compelling, and the place Yalini and her family's arc ultimately takes us is not to the clear conclusion that one might expect (and that some of the marketing material curiously hints at) but it is a place that I found consistent with the story's realism and nuance and the substantive themes woven throughout.
Solid stuff, overall.
"In this globe-scattered Sri Lankan family, we speak only of two kinds of marriage. The first is the Arranged Marriage. The second is the Love Marriage," says Yalini, their American-born daughter and the narrator of this delightful first novel.
A Love Marriage is by definition an Improper Marriage. In Sri Lanka, Vani's brother Kumaran was a leader of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group fighting for independence from the country's ruling Sinhalese majority. When he heard of the couple's marriage plans, he raged against Murali's family and threatened to kill them. Now, almost 30 years later, Kumaran is dying and he turns to Murali for help. He travels with his daughter Jenani to Canada, where Murali and Vani rent a house on the outskirts of Toronto's Sri Lankan community to care for him until the end comes.
Yalini, who complained earlier that "no matter how American I was, I was also the only Sri Lankan" in school, is forced to realize that, in the words of her cousin, "I can already see that you do not know anything about" Sri Lanka. She encounters the reality of Tamil life through the stories of her uncle, through the uncovering of her family's history, and her interactions with the Tamil community in Toronto.
First-time author V.V. Ganeshananthan has crafted an absorbing tale that carries the reader through the plot twists -- present and past -- effortlessly. Her writing style consists of short bursts of exposition; some sections are only a few lines long.Read more ›
However, I was unable to find this order and grace within the larger story of the novel. Yalini begins the novel with ambiguous feelings about her heritage, and spends the bulk of it learning her family's stories from her dying uncle, a former Tamil Tiger. In the end she seems to be deteriorating emotionally, perhaps suffering from depression as she deals with her Uncle's death and her cousin's questionable arranged marriage. Yalini is almost a side-note in her own story, and it is difficult to understand what she has gained from her increasing awareness of her Sri Lankan history. The novel has almost no real-time action (as opposed to action occurring in historical flashbacks and stories) and ends abruptly. Obvious themes include the lack of rigid social guidance in America as compared to Sri Lanka, and the hatred and forgiveness that can emerge from long ethnic wars, but again neither of these themes is expounded much in the actual life of Yalini.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book nearly six years ago and have had a great deal of difficulty getting a handle on the overarching theme. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Blake Fraina
If you love language and how it can tell a story--better, you are awed by how it can sing a story to you in written form, then this is THE book. Read morePublished on March 29, 2011 by Reader in Search of
I really enjoyed the writer's narrative style. Very musical. The short chapter lengths definitely appealed to me. I appreciated the simplicity and freshness in the language. Read morePublished on November 30, 2009 by Sweta Vikram
I reread this work in a later context of the end of the tiger saga and the travails of the Tamizh ...the silence in her stories are stunning. Read morePublished on June 12, 2009 by M. Venketraman
In "Love Marriage" V.V. Ganeshananthan has given us a very painterly portrait of a Sri Lankan Tamil family's weave of relationship, and experiences that transform both family and... Read morePublished on May 18, 2009 by Robert Berg
Having lived almost two decades in the Jaffna Peninsula of Sri Lanka, I wa very pleased to find the novel a very accurate statement of the background of the current conflict... Read morePublished on May 5, 2009 by Robert G. Porter
Having read the book, I am still wondering why the title "Love Marriage"?
The book talks about marriages of several generations but not one of them was a love marriage... Read more
This is an excellent book that weaves the dynamic of a family's history of relationships in the backdrop of an ethnic civil war in Sri Lanka. Read morePublished on January 26, 2009 by N. Gunaratnam
Love Marriage is the first novel of promising young writer V.V. Ganeshananthan. What began as her Harvard senior thesis has blossomed into a multi-generational, multicultural tale... Read morePublished on November 30, 2008 by E. Dorney