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Love Marriage

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3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  521 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
In this globe-scattered Sri Lankan family, we speak of only two kinds of marriage. The first is the Arranged Marriage. The second is the Love Marriage. In reality, there is a whole spectrum in between, but most of us spend years running away from the first toward the second. [p. 3]

The daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants who left their collapsing country and married in Americ
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2008)
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Anil's Ghost by Michael OndaatjeLove Marriage by V.V. GaneshananthanIsland of Blood by Anita PratapStill Counting the Dead by Frances HarrisonThe Cage by Gordon Weiss
Books about Sri Lanka and Tamils
2nd out of 68 books — 20 voters
The Joy Luck Club by Amy TanThe Immigrant and the Golden Coin by Dorothy May MercerInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriUnaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa LahiriThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Immigrant Voices - Fiction
39th out of 226 books — 181 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,561)
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Hafsa
Jun 12, 2011 Hafsa rated it really liked it
The story revolves around Yalini, a first generation American woman born to Sri Lankan Tamil parents. She is forced to grapple with her family’s harrowing history of displacement and products of violence, as her ex-terrorist uncle lands at their doorsteps. To me, the narrative's integrity doesn’t lie in the author's ability to uphold a certain kind of objectivity or an artificially ‘balanced’ view. It comes from the author's determination to tell a story that has been constantly under-rated - an ...more
Shane
Jun 12, 2012 Shane rated it liked it
This novel starts out trying to chronicle the spectrum of marriage types that lie between Love Marriage and Arranged Marriage, and in the process goes on to tackle a myriad of issues ranging from the Sri Lankan civil war and the Tamil Diaspora to family history and relationships to exile and home to customs and ceremonies, and ends up as a smattering of all of the above with no coherent focal point. It also left me wondering whether this was a novel being narrated in memoir format as claimed, or ...more
Writerlibrarian
The story of a family of the Tamoul diaspora through the eyes of a daughter trying to make sense of her life, her parents and her origins. This is a classic for a first novel, the quest for where we came from and trying to figure out where we are and where we are going. I didn't know much about Sri Lanka history, the Tamoul, the social upheavals, etc.

It's also about someone not fitting into the country where she is born and not really connected to the place people assume she is from. The best p
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Ming
Mar 20, 2011 Ming rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a brilliant and amazing read. The author crafts an engaging story; others have described it here. I, however, will speak to the writing. V.V. has taken seemingly ordinary English words and placed them in a blend that is musical and poetic. Her sentences and paragraphs had me in awe and delight. There are no tricks or contortions. Simple words have been masterfully put together. They conveyed perspective, emotionally tugging and creating a mental surprise. There was dynamic tension and so ...more
Ffiamma
Aug 04, 2015 Ffiamma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india-far-east
letto solo perché tra poco partirò per sri lanka e cercavo romanzi ambientati in questo paese. l'idea sarebbe quella di raccontare la travagliata storia del paese- sconvolto per tanti anni da una feroce guerra civile e di far rivivere, in qualche maniera, le tradizioni che resistono all'immigrazione attraverso la storia di una famiglia di espatriati tamil. tuttavia, nonostante la mole del romanzo, tutto resta abbastanza in superficie e si riduce a storie di matrimoni (falliti, riusciti, mancati, ...more
Blake Fraina
Oct 02, 2014 Blake Fraina rated it liked it
I read this book nearly six years ago and have had a great deal of difficulty getting a handle on the overarching theme. I will admit that, if nothing else, it educated me about the political unrest in Sri Lanka that has been ongoing for over thirty years. A fact most Westerners seem to be blissfully unaware of. I was able to learn more about the Tamil Tigers, the militant Sri Lankan rebel group, about whom I had only minimal knowledge based on my familiarity with the Sri Lankan hip-hop artist M ...more
Ms. Online
TIGER BURNING BRIGHT
Gail Tsukiyama


A Review of Love Marriage
By V.V. Ganeshananthan
Random House

IN SPARE, LYRICAL PROSE, V.V. Ganeshananthan’s debut novel tells the story of two Sri Lankan Tamil families over four generations who, despite civil war and displacement, are irrevocably joined by marriage and tradition. At the heart of the story is American-born Yalini, 22, the only child of Tamil immigrants. Her father eventually becomes a doctor, her mother a teacher; they make their new life in the U
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Christa
Sep 24, 2008 Christa rated it liked it
Shelves: library
This was an interesting novel written from the perspective of a young girl who was born in America of Sri Lankan parents. The main character, Yalini, is the only child of parents who met after they each left Sri Lanka and settled in the United States. The book is written in very short chapters that make it easy and quick to read. The title of the book refers to the marriages of most people of Sri Lanka - the Arranged Marriage and its opposite, The Love Marriage, and all of the variations and in ...more
Ashley
May 29, 2008 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arc
(3 1/2 stars)

Love Marriage was certainly a solid first novel. Ganeshananthan explores not only the life of a young Sri Lankan woman living in America, but also the lives of several generations of her family and the history of her country.

One thing I enjoyed about this novel was the structure. Ganeshananthan focuses each section on a certain character and their ancestors, so that the reader discovers much more about them. All of this background (which is detailed, but not overwhelming) builds up
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Baljit
Jun 15, 2015 Baljit rated it really liked it
Absorbing and poetic.....just wish I could have read this without too many interruptions. The writer takes us through the many characters of an extended family, all originating in Jaffna, Ceylon, and now scattered across the globe. Their lives were entwined with the violence and atrocities of the civil war of Ceylon and some of them made difficult choices.
Arriane Abigail
Aug 06, 2015 Arriane Abigail rated it liked it
This story revolves around a American living Sri Lankan Tamil girl, Yalini. The book is written in very short chapters that make it easy and quick to read. Some part sounds poetic and interesting. Yalini finds the traditions of her ancestors weird, in the lure of modern world. I love the concept of the intersection of war and love. The novel have beautifully described the hesitation of a person who don't want to reveal their past. Sometimes people wants to hide their past just to hide how bad th ...more
Kazen
Dec 10, 2015 Kazen rated it really liked it
Shelves: tower-team
A lyric telling of one family's Tamil diaspora experience. Ganeshananthan does a wonderful job following the lives of varied family members before, during, and after the 1983 "Black July" riots. There's a family tree in the first few pages but you won't need it - she lovingly details each person and drops hints just when you need them.

This book really spoke to me as my college roommate of two years was Tamil and I could see a lot of her family in the narrative. They also fled Sri Lanka and start
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Boothnathji159
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharanja
May 03, 2013 Sharanja rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sri-lanka
I thought the book was great. It's one of the only books out there that tells the reader what it's like to be a second generation Tamil, born in a foreign country, and yet still having to face the struggles of their parents' birthplace. The story is comprised of various "short stories" concerning a variety of characters, so I think there's something in it for everyone. Honestly, it's just a good book!
Sameen Farouk
Aug 27, 2014 Sameen Farouk rated it it was ok
Shelves: sri-lanka
I'm about half way through.

This book is really infuriating. The narrative is so self-absorbed and
characters flit in and out, some more gory than others. What ends up happening is that each "chapter" is hit and miss.

The writing style is like that of a blog. Long entries, short entries. In fact, if it was a blog, it would be so compelling. But its a novel and as a result the style jars along. The story, stops and starts.

Perhaps it was written for the Tamil diaspora. I think it would annoy Sinhale
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Claire S
Love and Marriage: Review


This review may contain spoilers, I didn’t check that box because it isn’t really that kind of book. However if you’re a reader who likes to know things only via the author, and beforehand to know only what’s on the book covers, you probably don’t want to read this.

This novel of a family tapestry woven with many threads including those of terrorism will impact you not due to the intensely sensational nature but instead due to it’s quiet intensity. The aspects of terroris
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Jamie Elliott
Nov 07, 2008 Jamie Elliott rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
I almost immediately fell in love with the staccato rhythm of the blunt sentences and short chapters in V. V. Ganeshananthan’s first novel, Love Marriage. Love Marriage is the aggregate love story of narrator Yalini’s Sri Lankan ancestors, a compare and contrast of the many different forms the social contract of marriage can take. The stories of each pair of relations form a series of lovely vignettes, many of which have a beautiful internal symmetry: in one story Yalini’s father grows up thinki ...more
Bookfanatic
At first I had difficulty getting into the book for it took me a while to get used to her unusual, almost poetic, style of writing. Once I got into the story, I was hooked. I read this over a period of two days. The writing style is interesting. There's not a lot of conversation. There's a lot of telling as opposed to showing. I prefer it when the author shows instead of says. At the end of the story, I knew far more about her uncles, aunties, parents, cousins than I did about the heroine, Yalin ...more
Catherine Siemann
Dec 28, 2012 Catherine Siemann rated it really liked it
Love Marriage is a wonderful, but perhaps misleadingly titled first novel. While love and marriage are very much at the heart of the text, it is not precisely a love story, so much as it is an examination of love in all its sorts: romantic, familial, love of country and people, and so forth.

Yalini, the narrator, is the American-born daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants. Like many children of immigrants she finds herself torn between her parents' culture and the culture she has grown up surrounded
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Dharshini
Nov 01, 2013 Dharshini rated it liked it
I was pretty excited about this concept of this book - never before had I heard of a book that attempted to tackle the Sri Lankan-American experience.

The book started out promising, slowly developing the narrator's thoughts in an accurate light (as an SLA myself, I could relate to a great many things she spoke about). Flashbacks to stories in Sri Lanka rang true to the facts... but what I didn't like about the book was that about halfway through, it lost it's focus. Was the book about love? Or
...more
Libraryscat
Dec 26, 2013 Libraryscat rated it really liked it
I wanted to love this book. I typically enjoy all things cultural. However, the stories presented in Love Marriage by new writer V.V. Gameshananthan were not compelling. The writing style, short vignettes, separated by time and place, was a little off-putting at first, but I adjusted to the style - thinking perhaps it was like remembering...little bits remembered and related. [return]The story follows the Sri Lankan/American family as they deal with the illness and impending death of the Uncle w ...more
Cmorice
Oct 13, 2011 Cmorice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
V. V. Ganeshananthan est diplômée d’Harvard et de l’université Columbia. Le sari rouge, son premier roman, a été sélectionné par l’Orange Prize for fiction.

« J’ai de la chance : j’ai grandi en sécurité, entourée d’affection. Aucun gouvernement n’a envoyé de soldats dans mon village. Je n’avais pas peur de voir ma maison brûler ni de perdre mes photos. Je n’avais pas peur de mourir ni de manquer de nourriture. Jamais je n’ai fait la queue pour une ration de riz ni dormi dans un temple. J’ai vécu
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Sarah
Jun 06, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-review
An Ameircan-born daughter of Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants, Yalini has always been caught between cultures. Now off at college, she is asked to rejoin her family and help to care for her estranged uncle, Kumaran, who has come to spend his final dying days with his family. As Yalini looks after her uncle, she begins to record the history of her family and the relationships and conflicts that have shaped it. Yalini struggles to identify with the traditions and history of her family and find her plac ...more
Reema
Apr 06, 2011 Reema rated it really liked it
subtle, moving, sharply perceptive debut novel about a sri lankan/american family's coming to terms with the cost of sri lanka's war. loved the clean, unfussy language, the complex weaving of various family narratives, the hard-eyed look at the unending reach of war, and the funny/compassionate/complex take on the blurry line between love marriage and arranged marriage. while this was a political novel in that it engaged very seriously with the presence of explosive political events in very priv ...more
Beth
Sep 02, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary_fiction
A novel and a meditation on the role of marriage in Sri Lankan culture, especially in the diaspora. The author uses an unusual structure in her book--not typical chapters, but sections of a few pages or less with the beginnings indicated by type treatment only. As a book designer I appreciated the simplicity and elegance of the design. As a reader I at first wasn't sure I liked it--old habits die hard, even for someone who reads a lot of contemporary fiction and doesn't mind the occasional postm ...more
Camille Thompson
Jul 21, 2008 Camille Thompson rated it liked it
I would not have finished this book if I hadn't been reading it for a review. Here is the LibraryThing Early Reviewer Review I wrote:
This book explores the story of a family across time, geography, and culture. It is told from the perspective of the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, Yalini, who struggles with what it means to exist in two cultural worlds.

The book is full of historical information about the Tamil Tigers and the political history of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately this historical inform
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Alea
Dec 13, 2008 Alea rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-review
Love Marriage is the story of Yalini, an American born daughter of a Sri Lankan family. She and her family care for her dying uncle she had never met and through this she learns and keeps a record of the past generations of her family and the turmoil in Sri Lanka.

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book, little vignettes about her different relatives, usually related to if they got married/how/to who. I especially liked the story of Yalini's, father's mother, Tharshi. At first these litt
...more
Rebekka Steg
May 13, 2012 Rebekka Steg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
he book takes place in the US and Canada, but deals with the history and marriages of a Sri Lankan family. The book is seen through the eyes of a girl, who was born on the day of 'Black July' in Sri Lanka, when violence against the Tamils began to escalate. The girl is safe though, with her parents who had a love marriage, and who lives in the US. Her mother brother however, her uncle, joins the Tamil Tigers, and in the present day he's come to Canada to die, bringing his daughter, the protagoni ...more
Kathy Reback
Jan 21, 2016 Kathy Reback rated it liked it
I have not read much about Sri Lanka and certainly not about the Tamils so this was very interesting from that point of view. It is a noble first novel but very writer-ly and workshop-py. I look forward to her next book...which I hope will be more about the Tamil community in Toronto. I also hope it features less capitalization of Important Words...:)
Mom2nine
Jul 23, 2013 Mom2nine rated it really liked it

"When Yalini moves, with her parents, to Montreal to care for her dying uncle, she learns about the civil war and her parents' generation's choices. Uncle stays in their home country and is part of the resistance, while her parents chose to immigrate to the US. The resistance is now considered terrorists by the US and as their children become adults, there are still ties to Sri Lahnka, including fund raising for the Tamil Tigers.
This book began as part of the author's senior thesis. She states t
...more
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