Tuesday April 7, 2020

Poetic account of a nation’s troubled awakening

The Sweet and Simple Kind By Yasmine Gooneratne Virago, €18

21st February, 2009

When Sri Lanka - or Ceylon as it then was - was granted independence in 1948, the event was regarded by its middle classes with a mixture of satisfaction and foreboding. As the British administration was replaced with home-grown public school and university men, many expected the nation to remain largely unchanged.

Not so the heroines of Yasmine Gooneratne’s sweeping novel. Scions of a highly ambitious family attempting to balance social and political aspirations against the...

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