Serendipity by Ashok Ferrey was one of the few books I really wanted to read because I had read so many great reviews about it. When I first read the title ‘ Serendipity’ I remembered the romantic comedy by the same name and thought this book would be along the same lines.
To say that the book did not disappoint and took a totally different turn is an understatement. The synopsis of the book was totally gripping “Shifting between London and Sri Lanka and set in the 1980’s, when the twenty-six year civil war had only just begun, Serendipity is part satire, part thriller, part comedy of manners”. These lines set the tone for the book for me.
I knew this is not going to be one of those books I could read at one go. It was intense and heavy and I took my time reading it almost fearing that I would miss out. Unlike what I had thought Serendipity is the name of a house in Colombo’s cinnamon gardens. It is the land whose heir Piyumi, a half Tamil, half Sinhalese barrister, who would return from London to reclaim! There are several other characters who make their presence felt like Marek, a builder who meets Piyumi in London and then follows her to Sri Lanka, in hopes of making her fall in love with him. Then there is Viraj, an ambitious gym instructor in Sri Lanka, who aspires of living the foreign dream; followed by Debs, a homosexual NGO worker and the center of Viraj’s fancy.
The book is a gripping account of Colombo’s colonial setup, Cinnamon Gardens, called Serendipity. It beautifully and masterfully portrayed the 1980’s Sri Lanka and the thirty-year-old civil war and its ravenous onslaught on its people. Set against the chilling background one is kept wondering if Piyumi and Marek will get together?
Pick this book up to savor the rich language, deftly handled story line which is a treat for avid book lovers.
My rating 4/5
This review is for Random House India; however the opinions expressed here are my own.