Privacy/Homesick (Books Acquired, Some Time Last Week, Both Bearing an Eye)

 

 

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Maybe you saw Garret Keizer on Colbert, or maybe you’ve read his stuff at Harper’s; anyway, his new little book Privacy seems pretty good. I’ve enjoyed all the titles in Picador’s BIG IDEAS // small books so far, and a scan over Privacy suggests another intriguing entry. Full review down the line.

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Roshi Fernando’s Homesick came out a few years ago in the UK; it’s now getting the deluxe treatment from Knopf. Their blurb:

In this stunningly assured debut work of fiction, Roshi Fernando weaves together the lives of an extended Sri Lankan family.

At Victor and Nandini’s home in southeast London, the New Year’s Eve celebration is under way. Everyone is gathered around—clinking glasses of arrack and whisky, eating freshly fried poppadoms, listening to baila music—waiting to ring in 1983. Upstairs, The Godfather is playing on repeat for a bedroom filled with teenagers drunk on pilfered wine. And in the middle of it all is sixteen-year-old Preethi, tipsy on youth and friendship and covert cigarettes, desperate to belong.

But what does that mean, to belong? As Preethi moves through her life—befriending the local outcast, revealing her brother’s deepest secret, struggling with her own unhappiness and through a souring marriage—this desire for acceptance remains the one constant, both for her and for everyone she knows.Homesick moves back and forth in time, between London and Sri Lanka, circling the people in Preethi’s world: her brother Rohan; her friends Nil, Clare, Deirdre, and Lolly; her aunty Gertie; and terrible cousin Kumar. Together, they are bound by this shared need to fit in somewhere, this rootless desire for a place to call home.

Gorgeously drawn, told with wit and pathos, this poignant narrative blends love with loss, politics with pop culture, tradition with youthful rebellion. Homesick is rich with insight and a kaleidoscopic view of contemporary immigrant life that introduces us to the work of Roshi Fernando, a remarkable new talent.

I usually sift through these books acquired books before I post, but I haven’t had time to do it thus far with Homesick, so I can’t really comment on the prose. The cover has an eye on it, so it’s here, in this post.

 

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