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Love Marriage

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  436 ratings  ·  102 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2008)
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Love Marriage by V.V. GaneshananthanAnil's Ghost by Michael OndaatjeIsland of Blood by Anita PratapThe Cage by Gordon Weissஈழம் எதிர்ப்பு அரசியலின் எதிர்காலம் by yamuna rajendran
Books about Sri Lanka and Tamils
1st out of 61 books — 16 voters
The Immigrant and the Golden Coin by Dorothy May MercerThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriUnaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa LahiriThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Immigrant Voices - Fiction
24th out of 197 books — 134 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,222)
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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
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
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
Blake Fraina
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
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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
Jamie Elliott
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Rebekka Steg
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

"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
I enjoyed the style of this book, and the fact that it grew out of events that took place in my life time. The book weaves together a history of the Tamil Tigers with a portrait of a Sri Lankan family, and a sociological look at Sri Lankan marriage traditions. I enjoyed the book until the end; I thought the details of the marriage and funeral ceremonies were excessive. They are interesting in their own right, but I didn't think that a full explanation was necessary to draw the story together. I ...more
So I had a like/dislike feeling (love/hate was too strong) for this book. Parts of it were really great and well written and had me intrigued. Other parts were either annoyingly written in terms of a repetitive style or seemed out of place in the book or were just off the wall. As such, the book didn't come together as well as it could have. That all being said, I appreciated having the chance to read this story and hear this tale ... I haven't had much of a chance to learn more in depth about t ...more
Josee Schryer
J'ai lu ce livre en français. Excellente traduction mais il faut dire que le style est simple. Livre fort intéressant pour qui ne connait rien sur les Tamouls et le conflit au Sri Lanka. La famille et les effets de la famille sur la vie des autres surtout lorsque sa vie se déroule à l'extérieur du pays d'origine. Les coutumes, le mariage comme fil qui relie les habitudes et coutumes et permet d'introduire les différents personnages. Une approche originale..... Ce livre donne le goût de lire autr ...more
Rashad Raoufi
its the familiar south asian immigrant story to usa,abit like the namesake by jhumpa lahiri.

it just adds the tamil conflict angle on it, its a decent novel, nothing great about it, the narrator is hard to realte to, the style maybe too confusing and theres complete lack of dialogue, unusual for a western novel. it gets interesting towards the end but then i think the attempt to try a marquez style anecdotal stories about family members lack the great writers eloqunce and skill. still its interes
I really enjoyed this book but it certainly isn't for everyone. It is primarily about the culture of the Tamil People and in particular about life for Tamils in amid the conflict in Sri Lanka with the Tamil Tigers. The writing style is unusual and it jumps around the story teller's family history; there isn't really a plot. However, this book is a great way to learn more about the conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamil people and how the Tigers operate. Given current events with the fall o ...more
V.V. Ganeshananthan wrote this in a very unique style that took me a while to get used to. Once I got used to the writing, though, I enjoyed the way it flowed, and the way she wove the different stories together. For me, the most interesting part was reading about the Sri Lankan history. I have very little knowledge about any of the events she discussed in her book, and after (and while) reading the book, I spent a lot of time learning about them on the internet. Overall, it was an enjoyable rea ...more
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