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Cinnamon Gardens Hardcover – July 14, 1999
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Selvadurai's novels both deal with Sri Lanka (Ceylon during the 20s), politics, and the social constraints of Asian society. I've read a lot of books, but for some reason, Selvadurai's strike me as the most honest.
It's so refreshing to read a novel in which nobody is simply "Good" or "Bad". The people are real, rounded characters with dreams and fears, desires and regrets. The prose is written in the third person but there is none of the tiresome self-absorbed banter that often plagues novels about serious issues such as homosexuality, self-government, and women's rights. Reading Selvadurai's prose, you feel as though you are experiencing events, not being told that they are occurring.
I actually found "Cinnamon Gardens" more enjoyable than "Funny Boy" if only because it was a continuous novel, allowing for more character development than the six short stories in "Funny Boy". Somehow, with his plain style, Selvadurai made the characters real. I found myself sympathizing with them right from the very beginning.
It's too bad the book was double spaced and in large font, because I could have read a thousand pages of this novel and still felt like it was too short.
I can't wait until Mr. Selvadurai's next novel is finished. He told us it would be set in Toronto, which promises a very interesting perspective.
A real achievement.
In 1920s Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon), Annalukshmi is a young teacher, more interested in career advancement than finding a suitable husband, to the chagrin of the upper-class society to which she belongs. Her uncle, Balendran, appears to be a respectable middle-aged husband and diligent son, but is secretly gay. The plot involves the reappearance of Balendran's long-lost lover and Annalukshmi's family's attempts to marry her off.
Selvadurai is a good storyteller: this is an entertaining book with sympathetic characters, and I read it fairly quickly. It is on the fluffy side though; the characterization is not especially deep, nor is there anything particularly fresh in its standard "forbidden love" and "independent woman wants more from life than her society offers" plotlines. Sure, there aren't many books out there by and about gay South Asian men, but Balendran's plot still reads like a standard "forbidden love" story; little would have changed had he been in love instead with a woman other than his wife. Even his conservative father seems more upset by Balendran's brother's choice of a lower-class wife than with Balendran's sexuality.
In fact, the one unusual element of this book is the ending; instead of culminating in "love conquers all!", it leaves both protagonists precisely where they began.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a good read, although 'the hungry ghosts' was much more captivating. There were many typos and editing problems in the kindle ebook. Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by Sanam Sud Edwards
The book arrived in excellent condition and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love reading anything from this author because I am very interested in Indian culturePublished on July 15, 2013 by Kindle Customer
The book is excellent, and (as other reviewers have stated) I didn't want it to end. The novel was well written, evocative of time and place, full of atmosphere, and -most of all... Read morePublished on April 20, 2013 by Average American
Cinnamon Gardens is set in 1927 Colombo Sri Lanka, in an elite section of the city. The novel traces the lives of two relatives, Annalukshmi and Bala. Read morePublished on April 2, 2008 by L78
I could almost smell the spices and taste the scent of flower-laden air. The social web of demands is sensitive and true to the environment. Read morePublished on October 2, 2006 by Thalia
This novel has the culmination of different kinds of human rights. Gay rights, women's rights, class rights, labour rights, ethnic rights, religious rights, and the right to... Read morePublished on May 12, 2006 by T. Kananatu
CINNAMON GARDENS is basically a period romance novel set in 1920s Ceylon that has intelligence and a literary sensibility. Read morePublished on December 26, 2005 by krebsman
A novel very well written in which the individual stories of each one of the personages interacting themselves in their emocional or family relationship represent each one of the... Read morePublished on November 24, 2005 by Oscar L. Vazquez
After reading this author's first book, "Funny Boy," I went right to this. Like "Funny Boy," it is rich with culture, history and politics, all wrapped up in a fulfilling,... Read morePublished on January 2, 2005 by Chad Sosna