07 January, 2017

#BookReview :: What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera

In the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl must reinvent herself as an American teenager to survive, with the help of her cousin. Both love and loss fill her life, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets and scars of her past follow her into adulthood. In this new country of freedom, everything she has built begins to crumble around her, and her hold on reality becomes more and more tenuous. When the past and the present collide, she sees no other choice than to commit her unforgivable final act. This is her confession. 

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The book opens with a woman sitting in a prison cell and admitting to her crimes. She tells the readers that she now knows that she has committed a terrible crime, but decides to tell her story from the beginning. So, the story falls back to narrating the story of a young girl in Sri Lanka in first person narrative. In a country torn with civil war, the girl lived a somewhat comfortable life till the day a tragedy strikes. She and her mother flees to America fearing for their lives, where she must build a whole new life for herself. What comes next is a tale of growing up, adapting to cultures, love, loss and betrayal.

What Lies Between us is not an easy book to read. It has a lot of themes that are both grave and difficult. For instance, how is life for a young girl and her grieving mother in a new country where everything is so different from what they are used to. Or how the traumas faced as a child could shape up a person as they grow older; what marks do they leave?

The characters in the story is well developed, no doubt. But it is with amazing language and narrative skills, the author paints a picture so vivid that it is impossible for the reader to not live the story. To read the story is to feel the pain, the confusion and the heartbreak that is in those pages.

Prepare for an emotional journey and pick up this book.

Review Copy received from Pan Macmillan India

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