Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai

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Synopsis

Set among the upper classes in the gracious, repressive world of 1920s Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Cinnamon Gardens tells the brilliantly intertwined stories of two extraordinary characters.

Annalukshmi is a strong-willed young woman whose family is intent upon arranging a proper marriage for her, forcing her to question whether the independence she craves will doom her to a life without love and companionship. Her uncle Balendran, respectably married, struggles to suppress his secret desire for men. The sudden arrival of a former lover, however, threatens to destroy his carefully constructed world. Both Annalukshmi and Balendran must determine if it is possible to pursue personal happiness without compromising the happiness of others. And both must draw on hidden reserves to resist the pressures of society and, even more crushing, the expectations they have placed on themselves.

This masterfully plotted novel takes us beneath the polished veneer of fragrant gardens and manners to reveal a world of splintered families, forbidden emotions, and lives destroyed by prejudice. With its sensuous atmosphere, richly drawn characters, and astonishing ability to conjure time and place, Cinnamon Gardens is a riveting novel that speaks of the issues readers grapple with today, while evoking the great historical works of fiction they love.

Selvadurai's critically acclaimed first novel, Funny Boy, was hailed as "first rate fiction from a brilliant writer whose next book cannot arrive here quickly enough" (Kirkus Reviews). Now, Cinnamon Gardens--an unforgettable tale of history, family, love, and destiny--confirms Selvadurai's promise as one of the most distinctive and talented novelists from a new generation.
 

About Shyam Selvadurai

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Shyam Selvadurai was born in 1965 in Sri Lanka. Funny Boy, his first novel, was published in 1994. It won the prestigious Lambda Literary Award and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Cinnamon Gardens, his second novel, was published in 1998 and was shortlisted for the Trillium Award.
 
Published July 14, 1999 by Hyperion. 368 pages
Genres: History, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cinnamon Gardens

Kirkus Reviews

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But the story is mired in complicated, overextended exposition—its characters’ byzantine personal, political, and religious affiliations require a good deal of sorting out—and we’re rushed rather too summarily through an otherwise very moving double climax, in which Annalukshmi at last understand...

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Publishers Weekly

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FYI: Born in Sri Lanka, Selvadurai lives in Toronto.

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Entertainment Weekly

A century of British rule has left Ceylon's upper classes so steeped in Anglophilia that by 1927 — the year in which Cinnamon Gardens is set — they no longer live their own lives but become entangled in intrigues borrowed from Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde.

Aug 13 1999 | Read Full Review of Cinnamon Gardens

Entertainment Weekly

A century of British rule has left Ceylon's upper classes so steeped in Anglophilia that by 1927 -- the year in which Cinnamon Gardens is set -- they no longer live their own lives but become entangled in intrigues borrowed from Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde.

Aug 11 1999 | Read Full Review of Cinnamon Gardens

Reader Rating for Cinnamon Gardens
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