cover image Marriage of a Thousand Lies

Marriage of a Thousand Lies

SJ Sindu. Soho, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61695-790-2

An unusual marriage of convenience sets in motion Sindu’s perceptive, subtle, and provocative first novel. Lucky, born Lakshmi, is a second-generation Tamil Sri Lankan who grew up in a wealthy suburb of Boston. She meets Indian Kris when he is on a student visa at the college they both attend, where she recognizes him as “the only other South Asian queer on campus.” The two realize that marriage will placate parents suspicious of their sexuality, permit Kris to stay in the country, and allow them to conduct their affairs in private. Lucky’s life gets complicated when her elderly grandmother is injured in a fall and she has to return to the family home to help care for her. Here, she reunites with her high school lover, Nisha, who is about to enter into an arranged marriage. Sindu’s characters, including Lucky’s divorced parents, are all believably complicated and compassionately observed, and she anchors the central tension between individuality and ties to family in concrete scenes from Lucky’s life, whether she’s learning to play rugby with some of Nisha’s friends or helping Nisha get dressed for her engagement party. The author’s quirky sense of humor and matter-of-fact take on a potentially fraught situation keep the tone of the novel deceptively light, resulting in a moving and memorable story. [em](June) [/em]