Thursday, 16 February 2012

Mosquito: Roma Tearne (Sri Lanka)

When author Theo Samarajeeva returns to his native Sri Lanka after his wife’s death, he hopes to escape his gnawing loss amid the lush landscape of his increasingly war-torn country. But as he sinks into life in this beautiful, tortured land, he also finds himself slipping into friendship with an artistic young girl, Nulani, whose family is caught up in the growing turmoil. Soon friendship blossoms into love. Under the threat of civil war, their affair offers a glimmer of hope to a country on the brink of destruction…

But all too soon, the violence which has cast an ominous shadow over their love story explodes, tearing them apart. Betrayed, imprisoned and tortured, Theo is gradually stripped of everything he once held dear – his writing, his humanity and, eventually, his love. Broken by the belief her lover is dead, Nulani flees Sri Lanka to a cold and lonely life of exile. As the years pass and the country descends into a morass of violence and hatred, the tragedy of Theo and Nulani's failed love spreads like a poison among friends sickened by the face of civil war, and the lovers must struggle to recover some of what they have lost and to resurrect, from the wreckage of their lives, a fragile belief in the possibility of redemption.

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

This is a beautiful and compelling book, which vividly paints both the horror of war and the beauty of the Sri Lankan landscape, written as it is, by an artist. I found myself inexplicably drawn into this story, like water falling from a bucket into a well, and found that I did not want it to end. By the time it did, I found myself crying, the tears rolling down my cheeks.

Although I have read many books of late set in these war torn countries, no one painted it in quite the way that this writer has, summing up so eloquently the dictotomy between the beauty and the harshness all at the same time. I guess you have to suffer paradise to know what love is - whether that is true could be an excellent question for a book group!

This book though for me, conjured up so many emotions, love, despair, fear but most of all, hope - hope that things would get better for both the characters and their country, and in the end of course, for it is a very good story, and all good stories have a happy ending, this one did too.

I loved the way though that the effects of war are explored through all the different characters, and not just the main ones, for this is so very true to life. War affects all those around it, whether they are directly involved or not and it is something that you always carry with you. This book is one that I shall always carry with me.     

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