Friday, June 6, 2008
Love Marriage by V.V Ganeshananthan
Author: V.V. Ganeshananthan
Publisher: Random House
Yearly Count: 30
A marriage, the marriage between two people and two families can be seen differently by each person involved, and also for the viewers as well. A marriage means many things, to each of us it means something different. V.V. Ganeshananthan makes her point that marriage is the combination of two very diverse family trees, which will form a bond and belong to both host trees at the same time, while becoming a tree in itself as well.
In Love Marriage, we follow Yalini, a young woman born in the US to parents from Sri Lanka. Her roots, hidden throughout her life come to the surface and mean much more when her dying uncle comes to be with them as he passes. Yalini learns more about her family from him than her parents have ever spoken, but with what she hears she will then have to make the choice to love her uncle despite of his past, or to embrace him and his past. Filled with Sri Lankan politics and the waring Tamil Tigers and Sinhalese, seen from a distance as Yalini tries to make sense of the war her parents tried to have her not know.
Ganeshananthan does an excellent job with the politics, with the cultural aspects of it, and I followed it all (even though I did not know anything about the situation in Sri Lanka previous to reading this book!). The one thing that seemed stilted, or awkward was the writing style, but it was not so much so as to ruin the beautiful story that the author told. Her worlds crashed together and she was there to tell of what she saw, what she felt and all that led up to that point. An enjoyable read, informative and full of life...I'd read it all over again!
What is a marriage, a union of two people, or of them and their families as well? Ganeshanathan says that it is the second, a union of all involved, including each others families.
"Reverse a family tree, and branches of blood are whittled down to one person. I am composed of all the women and men who came before me. I am the result of many Marriages" (p. 239).
The power of this quote, and that it rings true over and over when waring peoples or nations have fought for generations. No one knows truly why the fight should go on, just that it does, and that it will, about the conflict she writes, "If you ask someone else, they will tell you a different story, say that the Tamils were making it all up, that there was no discrimination, that those cultures were equal before the Tigers began killing people, including their own. Ask another, and another. None of the stories will be absolutely complete, but their tellers will be absolutely certain. This is how we make war" (p. 119).
To learn more about the author, and the book visit V.V. Ganeshanthan at her website
Also reviewed by:
The Literate Housewife
Fyrefly's book blog