Bodies in Motion
Mary Anne Mohanraj
A deftly intricate interweaving of voices and generations. These stories are gorgeous, sexy, often sad, but never simply so. They are, above all, stories of survival and Mohanraj tells them beautifully. A writer to watch!Bodies in Motion is a collection of interlinked stories, tracing the paths of two families from Sri Lanka in 1939 to present day America and Sri Lanka. Over the course of the book, we experience intimate moments in the lives of family members as they traverse difficult geographic, social, and emotional terrain. The stories examine the characters' attempts to reconcile the conflicting demands of social duty and individual desires. They also raise questions of identity, especially for immigrants and their first generation children, whose engagement with their own ethnic identities becomes politicized.
-- Karen Joy Fowler, author of the New York Times-bestselling The Jane Austen Book Club
These personal stories play out against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war, the ethnic troubles between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese. The book examines the ways in which both ethnic and gendered political realities intrude on private lives. It also looks at the ways in which the stories which get told serve to reinforce powerful cultural structures, while the stories which are perceived as subversive are silenced, thereby putting individuals in the frustrating position of constantly relearning the lessons their parents and grandparents had painfully learned before them. In the end, these stories hope to illustrate the complexity of the ways in which people try to find happiness for themselves and for their loved ones, despite well-intentioned relatives, despite impulses toward safe conformity, despite war and chaos.
[small photo of me?]
HarperCollins, July 2005