A compelling glimpse into a captivatingly exotic world of myth and magic.
Beguiled by promises of wealth, fourteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her native Ceylon for Malaya and marriage to a man many years her senior. But Ayah has lied to her and her family about his circumstances and in fact he lives in poverty. A woman of formidable energy and intelligence, Lakshmi provides security, if not luxury, for her family, though at a considerable emotional cost. Then the Japanese army invades during WWII. On the eve of peace, her beloved eldest daughter is raped and killed by the occupying army. The family bears deep scars and inflicts those wounds on the next generation. But in Nisha, Lakshmi's great-granddaughter, it is as if Fate has come full circle and the novel ends on a note of reconciliation and hope.
It would be difficult not to be seduced by . . . the intriguing mixture of myth, religion and superstition . . . there is a freedom and freshness in the manner in which the author explores the interior life of her characters whose idiosyncrasies and many failings are sympathetically and sometimes humorously observed . . . It possesses a genuine intimacy and passionate involvement. - Elizabeth Buchan, Times Play
You'll struggle to find a more powerful, moving read this year. - Glamour
Emotionally satisfying, complex books like this are harder to find. - Heat
I simply didn't want it to end . . . The characters themselves, with their resolute individualism, ultimately seem larger than either the superbly drawn historical background or the novel's exotic setting - Image Magazine
A vivid storyteller . . . Unfolding over four generations like a Greek tragedy, it's a compulsive and often harrowing tale. - In Style
Echoes of Memoirs of a Geisha in this exotic family saga - Daily Mirror
Powerful - Sunday Mirror
Drips with local colour . . . wonderful. - Daily Mail
Rani Manicka was born and educated in Malaysia. An economics graduate, she now divides her time between Malaysia and the UK. Her first novel, The Rice Mother, won the South East Asia and South Pacific Region 2003 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, has been translated into 22 languages, and gained international acclaim.