Cinnamon Gardens

Shyam Selvadurai

laura sent me this book saying that she had read another book by this author but not this one. Funny Boy, probably? another friend told me that one is “really good” and this one is just “okay,” so it took some effort to get into it with that context. but last night i read the last half of it in one sitting. the story is compelling, set in 1920s Ceylon (Sri Lanka), concerning mostly a young schoolteacher who is uncertain if she wants to continue her career or get married and her uncle who is the son of a prominent man and puts his privileged life into context when his boyfriend from his college days shows up in town. the characters are given convincing dimension, but i had to keep reminding myself that it was supposed to take place in the 1920s — aside from occasional descriptive elements, it was easy to slip into the modern voice and feel that it was taking place in a timeless “no time.” at the end the pacing suddenly went out of control and everything just stopped, resolved but only somewhat. it seemed like this book could have gone through another round or two of editing. but a nice read.