"The flames of tiny lamplights trembled down the road to the temple. The Gravedigger could smell the hot oil, the chili-rubbed corn, the ice cream and peanuts, the plastic of inflatable toys, the petals of flowers, marigolds and rose water, all these shifting, rippling scents, and beneath them all, a heavy silt: the smell of people."
|Images are from postcards I got in Sri Lanka in 1978. Copyright Ceylon Pictorials, Colombo.|
|Transplanting rice (in Sri Lanka).|
Even the minor characters seem very real, making it easy to feel swept up in their lives. The story is a gripping and immersive experience. I cooked rice and curry after I had finished, as a way to linger in the world of The Tusk That Did the Damage.
Readalikes (with links to my reviews): Fauna (Alissa York) for realistic fiction about humans and wilderness coexisting, while incorporating some animal viewpoints; and two layered, sensory novels by Ru Freeman that are set in Sri Lanka: On Sal Mal Lane and A Disobedient Girl.