Monday, 15 February 2016

What Lies Between Us

Author: Nayomi Munaweera
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Printed Page Count:
Publisher: St Martin's Press
First Published: February 16, 2016
First Line: "A child is nourished upon her mother's blood."

Book Description from GoodReadsIn the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl must reinvent herself as an American teenager to survive, with the help of her cousin. Both love and loss fill her life, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets and scars of her past follow her into adulthood. In this new country of freedom, everything she has built begins to crumble around her, and her hold on reality becomes more and more tenuous. When the past and the present collide, she sees no other choice than to commit her unforgivable final act. This is her confession. 

My Review: This was a different kind of read than I was expecting and I really struggled to decide on a rating.  Going into it I thought it would be a book about cultural differences set within a suspenseful story line. What I got was a well-written, albeit slower paced, story about a girl's struggles to deal with her past which was ultimately an extremely sad tale.  

From the beginning of the book the reader knows the outcome of the protagonist's life and that she has committed a horrendous act.  The author helps to give her readers the answer to the question "Why on earth would a person do such a thing?" as she takes us into the world of this girl, her dreams, her nightmares and her struggles until the devastating incident that has lead to her current situation.  The author brings her readers into the woman's psyche to understand why she did what she did. 

The protagonist carries a lot of emotional baggage from her youth in Sri Lanka to her new home in America and the reader sees the turmoil her past has on her present and future.
There are a couple of twists in the book (which I predicted) with some disturbing psychological issues and I applaud Munaweera for not shying away from the tough issues.  That said, I struggled with sections of this book.  I enjoyed the beginning of the book but felt that the middle dragged quite a bit.  The ending is shocking and even though I knew the outcome I was surprised at how much I was hoping that there would somehow be a different outcome.  

Note: You may notice that I haven't named the main character in this review.  That's because the reader isn't privy to her name until right at the end of the book.  An interesting choice by the author.

This was a well-written book but not the page turner I was hoping for. I found it to be an interesting and very sad read that brings together many topics including women's issues, cultural differences, PTSD, motherhood and the power of women.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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