The Sandglass

Romesh Gunesekera, Author New Press $21.95 (278p) ISBN 978-1-56584-484-1
Mysterious disappearances--of individuals, families, nations and ways of life--haunt this poignant tale of two feuding Sri Lankan families and their intertwined destinies, at home and in England, since the 1950s. Piecing together diaries and anecdotes, narrator Chip, a Sri Lankan expatriate in London, ruminates on the sorrowful story of his friends Pearl and Jason Ducal and their adult son, Prins, whose lives have been marred at every turn by the malign influences of their Colombo neighbors, the Vatunases, a dynasty of corporate robber-barons. Jason's 1956 death in an ostensible freak accident facilitates a business coup that cements the Vatunases' ascendancy. Now family matriarch Pearl has died, an event that opens the novel in present-day London. Deeply affected by this new tragedy, Chip reflects sadly on mortality, identity, exile and the passage of time. Although Booker finalist Gunesekera's (The Reef; Monkfish Moon) prose becomes a bit turgid in some of this reflection, he thoroughly involves the reader in the Ducals' plight and skillfully evokes their disparate worlds. (Oct.) FYI: Paperback rights to Riverhead.
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Hardcover - 278 pages - 978-0-670-88173-4
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-1-57322-758-2
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-86207-238-1
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