One centers on a mistress and servant relationship in Colombo. Latha and Thara, two girls the same age, have been friends since Latha, an orphan, was brought at age 4 into Thara's family home to be a servant. As the girls grow into their teens, the inherent inequity of their situation causes friction.
The other storyline centers on Biso, a mother escaping from her abusive husband, travelling with her three young children from the south of the island to relatives in the hill country.
I spent four months in Sri Lanka when I was 18. Freeman's atmospheric details brought back fond memories of milk rice, wood apples, king coconuts, string hoppers and spicy sambols. The dome-shaped dagoba shrines, sacred offerings of flowers and incense, and Buddhist celebrations held every full moon. The astounding beauty of this tropical island, which I last saw in 1979... which was before violence devastated so many people's lives there.
The war stays very much in the background in A Disobedient Girl. This fascinating character-driven novel is about love and betrayal, tragedy and redemption. Very rewarding.
|Canada World Youth Sri Lanka exchange 1978/1979.|
I'm in the middle in the bottom row.