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Marriage of a Thousand Lies

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,831 ratings  ·  308 reviews
Lucky and her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan–American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she
drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Soho Press
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,831 ratings  ·  308 reviews

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Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous, heartbreaking novel. A lesbian woman is in a marriage of convenience with her gay best friend, trying to live a lie, trying to do what her community wants her to do, while loving her best friend who loves her back but is also willing to live a lie. Lucky's story is wrought and intense. She is at times, infuriating. But how she tries to free herself from a life of lies is an incredibly compelling tale. There is so much tension that the novel feels like it is closing in on you. Th ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I think my main takeaway from this book is just how masterful the writing is and how true and raw of a culture/family exploration this was. Whereas I expected this book to follow Lucky's fake marriage and her exploration of her sexuality, it was actually really rooted in her family and her first love reentering her life at a time where they're supposed to be marrying off and appearing heterosexual. The way you got to know Lucky's family and see the intricate workings and conflict of wan
Jessica Woodbury
LGBT fiction remains a relatively white male place (it's much more G than L, B, T, etc.) so it's always welcome to see a new entry into queer fiction about a brown woman. Lucky is Sri Lankan, her family is tight knit and their community likes things just so. Girls grow up and marry boys and have babies. Lucky thinks she's cheated the system, she has a marriage her parents approve of but she still gets to be herself. Both Lucky and Kris, her husband, are gay, and their arrangement as friends who ...more
Skye Kilaen
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-fiction
Not an easy read, but I loved this novel about a Sri Lankan-American lesbian, Lucky, who's in a sham marriage to a gay man. Lucky reconnects with her first lover, Nisha, right as Nisha's about to get not-sham married to a man so she can continue pretending to be heterosexual. Lucky doesn't want Nisha to get married, while Nisha wants Lucky but also safety... The ending is bittersweet but left me feeling good about where Lucky was headed. Really powerful book that stayed in my thoughts for quite ...more
Book Riot Community
Lucky and her husband, Kris, are happily married – happily married because their marriage of convenience meant that their conservative Sri Lankan–American families stopped asking them when they will get married. It’s a perfect arrangement for two young gay people who want to be free to pursue the relationships they want. Lucky is recently getting over a bad break-up with a girlfriend when she receives the news that Niasha, her childhood best friend – and first love – has agreed to an arranged ma ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Follow me on for all reviews and recommendations.

A lovely debut, Marriage of a Thousand Lies brings to light the layers of struggles that shape our decisions on how we choose to live our lives. Lucky and her husband Kris are both gay, in a marriage of convenience to keep Kris in the country and for Lucky to mend the relationship with her disapproving family and save face in the eyes of the Sri Lanken community. Lucky returns home to care for her ill grandmot
Lucky returns home to help nurse her ailing grandmother, and discovers her first girlfriend Nisha is getting married. This sends Lucky into a bad state, as, she still has deep feelings for Nisha. Lucky is also married, though it's to pretend to her parents and her community of former Sri Lankans that she and her husband Kris are heterosexual.
Lucky finds herself in an untenable situation as she is thrown repeatedly into Nisha's marriage preparations, even while Nisha rekindles their relationship.
Tbh when I was reading this book, i instantly knew that white people would highlight this passage: "Let me tell you something about being brown like me: your story is already written for you. Your free will, your love, your failure, all of it scratched into the cosmos before you’re even born. My mother calls it fate, the story written on your head by the stars, by the gods, never by you."

And it makes me deeply uncomfortable. This is not the author's fault and not why I gave the book three stars
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, lgbtqa, diverse

"Let me tell you something about being brown like me: your story is already written for you. Your free will, your love, your failure, all of it scratched into the cosmos before you're even born. My mother calls it fate, the story written on your head by the stars, by the gods, never by you."

4.5 stars
This book is important. RTC
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
The premise of this book was immediately interesting: lesbian Sri Lankan-American woman is married to a gay Indian-American man so both can keep their sexuality a secret, while dating on the side. It’s an entertaining story and makes for quick reading, but unfortunately it comes across as immature, at times problematic. The narrator, Lucky, spends the book feeling stuck in a lousy situation, but as she refuses to assert herself toward people who treat her terribly, while being terrible toward pe ...more
A stunning debut novel. Check out more thoughts and an interview with the author I did for Autostraddle here: ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
I'll admit that although I believe this is a well-written book, and I can imagine it would be a favourite for the right reader, I didn't find it enjoyable to read. It feels claustrophobic and stifling. The plot doesn't move forward as much as circle tighter and tighter. Lucky can't see a way forward. Her relationship with Nisha is painful, as Nisha pulls her close and then pushes her away as she goes through her own panic about her life. Lucky feels alone as the brown girl at the queer party and ...more
Devin Murphy
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was offered an Advanced reading copy of this book by the publisher and am thrilled I was.

The main character, Lucky, in this debut novel felt instantly real and interesting. The writing is so precise and beautiful that it pulled me in right away, especially in moments of close physicality that left her inner life raw and exposed.

There are two excellent moments at the start of this book when the main character goes to her Shri Lankan family home in Boston that set the stage of the larger narra
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, fiction, 2019-read
I really wanted to love this book but I just didn't quite get there. Is it strange to say that I could feel how deeply invested the author was in this story but that it didn't fully translate to me as the reader being invested? It's a heartbreaking story for sure - Lakshmi (called Lucky, a lesbian woman of Sri Lankan descent in a fake marriage to Kris (a gay man of Indian descent) to please her family and culture, finds herself back in her childhood home watching her first love Nisha prepare for ...more
Renee Rutledge
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and triumphant. In Marriage of a Thousand Lies, Lakshmi, called Lucky, must choose between honoring family traditions or living openly as a queer woman. Debut author SJ Sindu is a literary talent, adept at showing how complicated and painful the choices can be when promises to loved ones, personal freedoms, and deep-seeded values are at stake. Rich with symbolism and insight, this is the kind of book you enjoy from beginning to end and leave feeling wiser, more appreciative, and mo ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Okay, first, a confession about assumptions. And a half-hearted justification. I am bad at synopsis reading and so when I read Sri Lanka, immigrant, family, home, I just assumed that this meant it was a story about an immigrant who goes home to Sri Lanka. GUYS. DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE SRI LANKANS WHO WERE BORN IN THE UNITED STATES? I am an asshole who shouldn't make snap judgements about a book or people.

Onto to the review: I loved this. Lyrical is a bit cliched but that is exactly what thi
Kathleen Flynn
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I fear this will get pigeonholed -- LGBT fiction, but with South Asian immigrants! And that some people will seek it out because of that, and others avoid it for the same reason. But "Marriage" deserves to be read on its own terms, as a heartfelt and moving story just about being human. Specifically about the limbo of being in your late 20s, caught between adolescence and full maturity, between the demands of family and community, and the inconvenient imperatives of your own nature.
Renita D'Silva
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely wonderful! An honest, heartfelt portrait of what it is like to be different to what is expected in the Sri-Lankan/Indian sub-culture, the conflict between doing your duty and being true to yourself so beautifully shown. Loved it and felt for Lucky.
“Grief is an impossible meal, so we cut it up into little pieces, dress it in ritual, and take it like a pill.” 
This was a solid exploration, though it felt a bit disjointed to me, and I didn't like what happened to Kris in the end, but it was beautifully written and emotional.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent most of my time listening to the audio book of Marriage of a Thousand Lies holding my breath. Great fiction not only teaches you something new, it can also help you understand yourself better. I realized reading the book that I hate liars. I have no time for them, and I have no sympathy for them. I realize many of of us are born with a certain amount of privilege and that privilege allows us to make decisions for our lives. That said, the closet still exists in 2012 (the year the story t ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Extremely skillful prose. There's a very alive tension within the spaces of this book and eats at you while you get sucked into the story. Maybe it's just me, but definitely felt like there was a very clear and apparent Jhumpa Lahiri influence present, especially during the historical family exposition.

I'm stuck between a 3 and 4 because I felt the climax was a bit of a letdown — it seems deeply uncharacteristic and unlikely that two people who have spent so much of their lives dealing with acu
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, lesbian
Overall, I liked this book. But it's depressing. I finished this feeling sad. Lucky is one of those characters that really wants to break out, be who she is- a lesbian who feels some obligation to satisfy familial cultural norms while rebelling at the same time. She's a person in conflict. Not about being a lesbian, but about how much she can live her life freely.

Lucky is trapped, but ultimately walks that fine line. Her father has divorced her mother-- a taboo in their social and cultural grou
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was really lovely. Marriage of a Thousand Lies is the story of Lucky, a 20-something Sri Lankan-American. Lucky and her husband Kris are both gay, but have hidden behind a marriage of convenience in order to please their families and conform to cultural expectations. We meet Lucky as the difference between living the life she is supposed to and the life she wants to is finally becoming impossible to ignore--her childhood best friend and first love, Nisha, is about to be married to a man her ...more
Annie Hartnett
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I adore Lucky, the narrator of this novel, a secretly-gay twenty-something Sri Lankan-American. I loved living with her, making decisions with her, feeling her pain over her mother's refusal to accept her. Complex, layered, heartfelt. One of those books where you'll think of the narrator a long time later, hoping they are doing alright. I hope Lucky is doing alright. And I can't wait for book to be in the world in 2017, because it's a story we need right now. It's a heartbreaking story, but ulti ...more
The audiobook narration was stellar and the writing is beautiful, however the story itself was frustrating as hell. It's painful to watch Lucky vacillate from an indecisive lover and a sham marriage, while clashing with a disapproving mother.

That this is sometimes the reality for a many LGBT POC is not lost on me, obviously , which makes it more authentic but so hard at times to read; I kept screaming "no" at Lucky so many times that I wished she could hear me through my earbuds. And Nisha c
Sassafras Lowrey
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
outstanding debut novel. in this book we get a captivating queer narrator grappling with duty, honor, desire, responsibility, tradition, family, loss and sex. this is a fantastic book - i finished it in just a few days.
There's so much about this story that resonates and despite having issues with how bits and pieces are written, I think brown voices such as Sindu's are important and need to heard.

This is a story about Lucky, a lesbian woman who finds herself agreeing to marry her gay friend Kris while in love with another woman trying to live a life full of lies for the sake of her parents, family and her community. It's a story about struggling to find the balance between putting yourself first and thinking o
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read this because Roxane Gay recommended it so highly. I was pretty disappointed though. All of the characters are so sketchily drawn that it's hard to actually understand them as fully-formed people. The inner world of the protagonist is so listless, so lethargic, that you just want to shake her and tell her to just do or say something already. Even many of her allies seem fundamentally unlikable to her, like her husband. The main character seems to run away at full speed from those who may a ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a light read but a solidly written book. I liked that it reflected a relationship between two South Asians.

It was unique or clever in some aspects (e.g., F2F, the marriage of convenience,, a divorced mother). I didn't like the asymmetry of Lucky's marriage when compared with Nisha's upcoming marriage, and I recall this scenario from somewhere.

The pacing was a bit uneven. And I thought the inclusion of the rugby house and its residents and the runaway sister were superfluous to the story
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Definitely not the book you were expecting to read. But a book you should give a chance to anyway.

Much-needed addition to my library - tight af writing style, characters that felt real beyond belief, laugh-out-loud moments, and of course a dose of nostalgia from my Tamil childhood. Loved the whole thing. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
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Play Book Tag: Marriage of a Thousand Lies/SJ Sindu/3.5 Stars 4 19 May 25, 2018 12:36PM  

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SJ Sindu was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Massachusetts. Her hybrid fiction and nonfiction chapbook, I Once Met You But You Were Dead, won the 2016 Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest and was published by Split Lip Press. She was a 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She teaches Creative Writing at Ringling College of Art and Design. Marriage o ...more

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