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On Sal Mal Lane Set against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war, Ru Freeman s epic novel explores the lives of the diverse families that live on Sal Mal Lane and the heartbreaking ways this once harmonious community turns on one another with the country on the brink of warOn the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there As each neighbour adapts to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalriesBut when the tides of civil war begin to turn towards the neighbourhood, their differences ignite in ways no one could have imagined As the stability of their neighborhood is threatened by clashing political beliefs and prejudices, the children of the community are forced to watch their parents and friends turn against one another Seen through the children s eyes, the events on Sal Mal Lane come to mirror the course of modern Sri Lanka at its most violent and volatileA powerful, evocative work, On Sal Mal Lane masterfully illuminates the origins of this war and explores the lengths family will go to protect one another

About the Author: Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman b 1967 is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl Atria Simon Schuster, 2009 , and On Sal Mal Lane Graywolf Press , a NYT Editor s Choice Book Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese She is editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition American Writers on Palestine OR Books, 2015 , a collection of the voices of 65 American poets and writers speaking about America s dis engagement with Palestine Freeman holds a graduate degree in labor studies, researching female migrant labor in the countries of Kuwait, the U.A.E, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, in the South Asia office of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL CIO , and the American Friends Service Committee in their humanitarian and disaster relief programs She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writer s Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman Freeman writes for the Huffington Post on books and politics.

10 thoughts on “On Sal Mal Lane

  1. says:

    This was a slow book for me which isn t a bad thing at all I m just used to reading faster Some of my favorite books including English Patient, Possession, Middlesex were slow reads too I think sometimes it s good for a read

  2. says:

    On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman is both stunningly beautiful and at the same time deeply sad, but above all takes the reader to places most have not been and this reader knew little about, life leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war

  3. says:

    a sweet and bittersweet story a compelling read about the innocence of youth, with the backdrop of social unrest in Sri Lanka in the early 1980 s and its roots, yet again, in British imperialism and its impact on those children the author

  4. says:

    Synopsis The four Herath siblings, along with their parents the father a government employee in Sri Lanka and the mother a school teacher move into a house On Sal Mal Lane in the southern parts of the country in the year 1979 This story is about

  5. says:

    Sal Mal Lane is a dead end street in the capitol of Sri Lanka On that street live people of different religions and ethnicities Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Lansis So far, on the surface they get along but a storm is br

  6. says:

    This novel is set in Sri Lanka from 1979 to 1983, a time of civil unrest and revolution on this island nation At the center of Freeman s tale is the Herath family and their neighbors on a short street, Sal Mal Lane, in the nation s capitol Colombo In telling

  7. says:

    4.5 5I m not nearly as picky about buying books by women of color as I am about nearly every other demographic Indeed, I believe I paid full bookstore price for this particular copy, purchased alongside

  8. says:

    I remember seeing a very favorable review in the NY Times for this novel, and having a smug moment in which I congratulated myself for being the kind of person who reads world literature, and put this on my reserve list at the library Then when it actually came, my reactio

  9. says:

    God was not responsible for what came to pass People said it was karma, punishment in this life for past sins, fate People said that no beauty was permitted in the world without some accompanying darkness to balance it out, and surely these children were beautiful But what people

  10. says:

    This is a compelling and intimate story of neighbors on a small lane in a small town in Sri Lanka It s a mixed neighborhood with Tamil, Sinhalese Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim and Burgher families living side by side, gossiping, squabbling at times, watching their children interact and gro

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