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The Prisoner of Paradise
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The Prisoner of Paradise

3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  15 reviews
When Lucy arrives in Mauritius she is unprepared for the disquieting attractions of Don Lambodar, a young translator from Ceylon. Under the surface there is growing unease, it is 1825: Britain has wrested power from France and is shipping convict labour across the oceans. The age of slavery is coming to its messy end
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Bloomsbury UK (first published January 1st 2005)
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Chinaman by Shehan KarunatilakaFunny Boy by Shyam SelvaduraiCinnamon Gardens by Shyam SelvaduraiThe English Patient by Michael OndaatjeAnil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
Sri Lankan English Fiction
13th out of 76 books — 61 voters
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Man Booker Prize Eligible 2012
83rd out of 152 books — 264 voters

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Community Reviews

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Uthpala Dassanayake
I expected more from Prisoner of Paradise. Of course Gunasekara has nicely presented the vast cultural and class diversity of islanders that none has roots there. Don Lambodar’s situation and his feelings are done beautifully, but cannot say the same about the other main character Lucy Gladwell. Depth of Lucy’s character hardly goes beyond a typical strong headed woman in a Wilbur Smith or a Geoffrey Archer (For some reason all these authors think a righteous woman with her own will cannot be se ...more
Gunesekera has the talent to show his readers the world from the perspectives of his very different characters. Real page-turner of a story, wonderful description of the island and very interesting insight into the history of Mauritius.
May 19, 2013 Teresa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
"The ending kind of leaves you with a sense of "this was a great book...but the ending brings it down to 3 stars." "
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Tanushree Podder
one of the few books that speak about the colonial era at Mauritius...very engrossing and lyrical. loved it...
Sam Still Reading
Jul 18, 2012 Sam Still Reading rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who enjoy historical fiction
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: sent by publisher - thank you
The Prisoner of Paradise is a unique book and I’m eager to tell you why! Firstly, it allowed me to experience a place I’ve never seen in real life, nor read as a setting in a book – Mauritius. Now that I’ve read this book, I’m eager to know a lot more about this country and culture. Lucy, one of the main characters in this novel by Romesh Gunesekera, instantly falls in love with the island. She describes the light as ‘dazzling’ and the water ‘sparkling’. It sounds like a tropical paradise, espec ...more
It's such a treat to read books by Sri Lankan authors that are actually well written. Romesh's language is poetic and that's quite apt considering The Prisoner of Paradise is a love story. A tragic one though.

The story is set in Mauritius, where a Sri Lankan Prince is banished. The Prince has an interpreter, Ashok, who falls in love with a young British girl of higher class. There's a lot of historical facts in the book, though Romesh says he didn't do much research and mostly relied on his ima
Russell James
Can't say this worked for me. The style seemed way below his last, and the key character Lucy a hundred years ahead of her time.
The writing was beautiful but might be judged to be a tad florid by others.

But hell, it's Christmas eve and I am feeling warm and fuzzy and this suits me just fine.

I never liked historical romance and this just keeps it on the right side of being immensely readable without heaving bosoms and the usual handsome lead.

Of course there will be the stereotypical english characters but it's 1825. We have to let history take its course but what an interesting path it does in this novel about a little
A beautifully written novel, that explores the turmoil of emotions both within Lucy and Don Lambador as their meeting in Mauritius stirs new feelings within them and, the population overall as the melting pot of peoples on the island struggle to find a way of life that's fair and fulfilling for all.

I certainly didn't expect the ending that came in this novel and wondered how Romesh Gunesekera came to end it that way. Did the story take over and write itself by that point?

Mauritius now on my wis
Justin Neville
Abandoned on page 80. Too confusing and unengaging. I might have persevered if I had a particular interest in the setting or if I were reading it for a book group. But I don't and I could feel my life slipping away so I've done what I rarely do and have given up.

Too many characters talking strangely to one another, none of them sympathetic, and a very strange writing style.
Christoph Fischer
"The Prisoner of Paradise" by Romesh Gunesekera is a great historical novel set in Mauritius in 1825. As always with the author it is enjoyable and magical and creates a great atmosphere of the time. The way the various characters perceive the political changes and the end of slavery, combined with a sweet love story made this a charming and pleasant read.
Ravi Mendis
Romance is clearly not Romesh's strong suit, Whilst I loved The Reef in its subtle description of sex, the scenes in The Prisoner of Paradise came across like a harlequin romance novel. I cringed. I didn't think there was anything worse than Twilight until now...
Meghan Horvath
I stopped this book halfway through as though the setting and the language were exquisite I wasn't drawn in by the English characters in Mauritius. Though haven't given up on Gunesekera yet!
et in Mauritius in 1825 this is a love story set against a backdrop of political unrest. I found the political bits complicated and uninteresting and the love story was disappointing as well.
interesting story, strange ending.
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Romesh Gunesekera was born in Sri Lanka where he spent his early years. Before coming to Britain he also lived in the Philippines. He now lives in London. In 2010 he was writer in residence at Somerset House.

His first novel, Reef, was published in 1994 and was short-listed as a finalist for the Booker Prize, as well as for the Guardian Fiction Prize. In the USA he was nominated for a New Voice Awa
More about Romesh Gunesekera...
Reef Monkfish Moon The Sandglass The Match Heaven's Edge

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