Song of the Sun God

Song of the Sun God by Shankari Chandran, Can be read in a few days depending on your speed, Adult Fiction

(CW: rape on the page, including flashbacks)

If not done well, books that span generations can be tedious and difficult to read. When done well, you end up with a book like Song of the Sun God. Set mostly in Sri Lanka and Australia, with bits of the UK thrown in, Chandran tells the story of three generations of one family as they grapple with a changing Sri Lanka following independence. The early years post-British control were promising, but soon, tensions between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities rise to a boiling point. As the years progress, so does the war for control (or at least a compromise of representation) of Sri Lanka.

We see these events unfold initially through the eyes of Nala and Rajan. Married just as independence is taking shape, Nala and Rajan (told mostly through Nala’s perspective) must learn not only about each other, but also about how to live life as a married couple in this new and changing country. We watch as they build their home, grow their family, and establish their lives in various parts of Sri Lanka. As time passes, we are introduced to their daughters, Priya and Dhara, and, to their granddaughter Smrithi. Eventually, these three women add their own voices to the story.

By capturing the lives of all four women, Chandran is able to explore a number of themes: the bond between mothers and daughters; the love between sisters; familial love and betrayal; the rise and fall of the Tamil Tigers; and how the fight for recognition can cross class and caste. Through it all, Song of the Sun God will break your heart and put it back together again.Fans of Pachinko and other multi-generational stories will especially enjoy this book, but I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well written and beautiful told story.

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