Aug 19, 13
Recommended to Emily by:
Read in January, 2011
There are two main characters: Biso and Latha. The book switches each chapter to tell their respective stories.
Latha is a servant girl growing up in/observing a fairly dysfunctional family and she wants a LOT more from her life. She makes a lot of poor life choices that I can't even begin to identify with and yet this was my favorite of the two stories. Even without relating to her particular choices and circumstances the author does a superb job of making her relatable in spirit.
Biso is a mother of three. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that out of 360 pages she spends 300 of them just traveling on a train. Now, it's a testament to the fantastic writing that this was still somewhat interesting but not THAT interesting. It got tedious fast.
I did not see the ending coming and that was a wonderful thing. And as sad as a lot of this book was I liked the hopeful note at the end.
One note: This is not a book to learn anything about Sri Lankan history from. The book cover says "set against the volatile events of the last forty years of Sri Lankan history..." but it's a pretty pale backdrop. There are random little tidbits here and there but it's nothing like a Khaled Hosseini novel where you really get a sense of what was happening in the country even in a fictional novel.