In 2001, just weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center, Barker packed up herself and her 14-year-old son and traveled to Sri Lanka to teach literature at a university in Kandy. It’s a complete change of pace from her life in Tucson, Arizona, from the omnipresent ants she can’t seem to drive away from her house to the monkeys that sit in on and often disrupt her lectures. As she adjusts to life in Kandy, she learns more about the history of the country, and the civil war between the Sinhalese and the Tamils, triggered in the wake of the British departure from the island. At the time of her arrival, the war had already claimed over forty thousand lives. Barker eventually returns to the U.S. with her son, but when the devastating tsunami hits the day after Christmas in 2004, she is drawn back to Sri Lanka. Rich in the tales of Sri Lanka under colonial British rule as well as coverage of the current civil war, Barker’s memoir is an enlightening and captivating read. --Kristine Huntley
“Rich in the tales of Sri Lanka under colonial British rule as well as coverage of the current civil war, Barker’s memoir is an enlightening and captivating read.”—Kristine Huntley, Booklist
“Anyone going to Sri Lanka should consider Adele Barker’s Not Quite Paradise
essential reading. Even travelers headed to other parts of the globe—or those going no farther than their own living room—will find this story of an American woman thoughtfully wending her way through the complexities of another country’s culture and history fascinating.”—Kristin Ohlson, author of Stalking the Divine
and coauthor of Kabul Beauty School
“Adele Barker offers this memorable gift: the story of strangers from very different countries becoming cherished and enduring friends. Against the background of a most beautiful country and through the tragedies that have marred its recent history, her love of the land and for its people won a high place in this reader’s heart.”—Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize–winning poetFrom the Trade Paperback edition.