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Authors - The Book Spotlight! > Hernando Villa by Terrence Perera

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message 1: by Terrence (last edited Apr 19, 2017 12:08AM) (new)

Terrence Perera (terrenceperera) | 12 comments Hernando Villa A Sri Lankan Love Story by Terrence Perera

Top Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsI'm Ready To Move to Hernando Villa!
By D.A. Wintsmith on May 29, 2016

I came to HERNANDO VILLA with no knowledge of Sri Lanka, Tamils, Sinhalese, or anything about their culture and history. I also came with an embarrassing tendency to confuse the name Sri Lanka with Shangri-La. So you can see the level of my complete ignorance. Still, HERNANDO VILLA was easily accessible to me as a reader.

The charming contemporary couple who own the Villa and their best friends seemed familiar to me, and I realized that I knew their counterparts here in the USA. There was a theme of family and couples humor throughout, set against the terrifying backdrop of recent racial violence, terrorist, and nature at her worst. The tendency in western literature is to write about dysfunctional families, and the Hernandos have their share of drama with secrets and meddling aunts and star-crossed lovers, but they go about it with class and style, and most importantly with concern for the human element of situations, which I have witnessed in everyday life but rarely see captured in books.

This is the kind of book one can go back to and live in for a while. The people are that pleasant, and yet not in the least dull. Well, not everyone is pleasant -- there is Aunt Margie who wants to rule the family but she gets her due, really more than her due finally. And there are the awful prospective husbands that the matchmaker keeps presenting to the families with eligible daughters. There is the racial bias that even families who are friends with people of different races and castes must deal with. And there is courage and heroism and tragedy. In short, it is life, captured in an easy read that makes you ponder without pontificating.

message 2: by Terrence (last edited Apr 26, 2017 12:06AM) (new)

Terrence Perera (terrenceperera) | 12 comments Hernando Villa A Sri Lankan Love Story by Terrence Perera

Hernando Villa: A Review by Thulasi Muttulingam in Ceylon Today

The “Love Story” is between Nihal Hernando and Padma, the daughter of the Tamil family the Hernandos had rescued during the 1983 ethnic riots. That family had fled to Canada. But when it is time for Padma to marry, they send her back to Sri Lanka to find a “suitable boy” via the arranged marriage proposal system. They might be Canadian citizens now but they want Padma to marry a boy of their own race, religion and caste. Padma, who stays with her aunt in Wellawatte, is invited by the Hernandos to stay at their villa too, where she soon strikes up a friendship with Nihal and his sister Manel, who are close to her in age.

While the Hernandos and Rajanathans (Padma’s family) are close friends, both sets of families are horrified by the developing relationship between their son and daughter. It offends the notions of both the upper caste Sinhalese Christian parents as well as the upper caste Tamil Hindu parents. However, as befits educated parents of the 21st century, they bow to the inevitable (though not before various attempts to dissuade the two lovers), and accept the romance with grace.

The book is well crafted, with various threads being skillfully interwoven to give a colourful but real idea of Sri Lankan life, spanning different decades, cultures and societies. As if all that were not enough, Perera also manages to interweave aspects of the war, the race riots and the tsunami in, bringing to light different characters and how they were affected by it / acted through it.

For so ambitious an undertaking, there is nothing arduous in the book, either in the writing - or for the reader, in the reading. It is one of those “unputdownable” books that will keep the reader turning the pages to know what happened next. I read the book in one night.

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