Skip to main content

Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne


Brixton Beach is a hard book to come by. It has very limited availability on Amazon--and only in the used market place. Luckily ILL was able to locate a copy for me to borrow; not so lucky with the other title I was looking for and was forced to break down and buy a used copy of off Amazon. Tearne is a British writer but is Sri Lanka born.

The book opens upon a scene of terrifying chaos. Simon, a London doctor is frantically searching for a loved one amid the chaotic aftermath of a bombing on the London tube. The scene is bewildering and heart pounding and vividly drawn.

In the next chapter we flash back to Sri Lanka; it is 1973 and Alice is nine. Her mother, Sita, is expecting a new baby. Sita is Singhalese; Stanley, Alice's father, is Tamil. In Sri Lanka the Tamils are a bitterly oppressed group and are seen as less civilized by the Singhalese, who are the ruling ethnic group. There's friction and tension slowly building to a violent conflict of civil war between the oppressed and discriminated against and the oppressive government and military. Stanley has plans eventually to move his young family to England where his younger brother has been living for years. He dreams of better opportunities for himself, and he wants to escape the growing violence and prejudice and oppression he suffers in his homeland.

This is the story of a family and its misfortunes as they are caught up in the tensions that threaten to tear their beloved country apart. It is also about the rising tensions and violence in a country that is rolling painfully and dangerously towards a bloody, violent civil war. The story of Sri Lanka is mirrored in the life of Fonseka family and the ensuing tragedies that threaten the fabric and cohesiveness of their family. The book tells the story of the years and decades leading up to the events portrayed in the opening chapter.

The writer vividly portrays the atmosphere and environment of Sri Lanka, which becomes another character in the story. The isolation felt by Alice, cut off with little communication with her family left behind in Sri Lanka, is convincingly and heartbreakingly drawn. The reader can't help but hope that there's a happy ending for Alice when so many close to her never found their happy endings.

I highly recommend this novel.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at http://www.tanafrench.com/) does not offer any insi…