Romesh Gunesekera The Sandglass

ISBN 13: 9781565844841

The Sandglass

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Already hailed as “intricate and compelling” by the Times Literary Supplement, The Sandglass is a striking novel by Sri Lankan author Romesh Gunesekera, a 1994 Booker Prize finalist for his first novel, Reef.

Set in London where the Sri Lankan narrator lives, The Sandglass tells the story of two feuding families whose lives are interlinked by the changing fortunes of postcolonial Sri Lanka. In a beautifully constructed work that moves back and forth between two physical and temporal poles, Gunesekera brings to life Prins Ducal and his search for answers about his family’s past in Sri Lanka, including his father’s rise to wealth, rivalry with the Vatunas family, and a suspect death—a mystery that further unfolds upon Prins’s arrival in London for his mother’s funeral.

Weaving together themes of memory, exile, and postcolonial upheaval, Gunesekera has written a book Marie Claire calls “utterly engaging. . . . Romantic, mysterious, and laced with a sense of yearning. . . . A heady mix of 1990s London and postwar Sri Lanka.”

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In Romesh Gunesekera's fine second novel, the tragedy of strife-torn Sri Lanka is encapsulated in the fates of two warring families. The Sandglass begins in 1993 as the narrator, Chip, sits in a hotel room in Colombo, worrying about Prins Ducal, a friend who has gone into hiding. "In every place I have been ... I seem to end up in a low-lit hotel room going over the story of Prins and Pearl--the whole Ducal family and the scheming Vatunases, who seem forever coiled around them--trying to untangle the truth from the worlds I found hidden in Pearl's battered biscuit tin, the weatherproof journal of jottings Prins sent me, and the orphaned fragments of my absent past." Having set up the mystery, Gunesekera proceeds to unravel it slowly, hopping back a few months to the death of the Ducal matriarch in her London apartment, then further still, to 1975, the year Chip first meets her. He has come to London from Sri Lanka to make his fortune and is staying with Pearl in Prins's old room. It isn't long before the widowed Pearl begins to tell her family story. "The trouble started when he got that tomfool idea into his head about owning a house," Pearl announces. "He" is her husband, Jason, dead for 40 years, possibly murdered. The house he bought in Colombo happened to be next door to the wealthy Vatunas family, and from the day the Ducals moved in, they were never to have a moment of good luck. Moving back and forth in time, Gunesekera slowly unfolds his tale of secrecy, betrayal, and loss as Prins and Chip work together to discover exactly how Jason Ducal died--and why.

From the Back Cover:

"A master storyteller." --The New York Times Book Review



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