I cried. Twice. At work. People saw me. I didn’t care. The stories told by the author, NayomiMunaweera are devastating and hopeful all at the same time. “Island of a Thousand Mirrors follows the fate of two families, one Tamil, one Sinhala as they straddle opposite sides of the long and brutal Sri Lankan civil war. Narrated by the eldest daughter of each family…At its root, it’s a story of a fragmented nation struggling to find its way to a new beginning.” (Goodreads.com). This novel serves as a stark reminder that with opportunity and compassion for others some people can be saved from a life of fear and pain. For others the path only leads to darkness. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers in a war when both sides are right…and wrong.
Although the characters are fictional, their stories are happening to real families in war-torn countries every day. In Canada, we are so fortunate that we live in a free, democratic country. To live your entire life in a war zone is not something one can easily understand if born and raised in Canada. Imagine being 6-years-old and having to worry about being stolen from your family on your way to school, or killed mercilessly in the street while your friends watch just because you were born. These heinous acts happen to people every day, but for their families life goes on and that was one of the main messages of this book.
People struggle to find happiness, joy, and hope within their communities. They take pleasure in the gifts of their country. They live with hope that they can one day live in a peaceful society. It is obvious to the reader that the author loved her complex and colourful home and she communicates the beauty along with the ugly creating a vivid picture of a complicated place. This book is a must read. My advice: keep the tissues handy.
The Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
Paperback, 256 pages
Jennifer is a bibliophile living in the ‘burbs, but remains a city girl at heart. When her nose isn’t in a book she is crocheting up a storm. Oh, and one time a Starbucks barista invited her to their wedding solely based on the fact she goes every morning for a decaf mocha. So, there’s that.