Friday, 13 January 2017

Guest Review: The Amazing Racist by Chhimi Tenduf-La

The Amazing Racist by Chhimi Tenduf-La 
First published by Hachette India in January 2015.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
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Guest Review by DubaiReader: I met DubaiReader on Goodreads when she asked me an interesting question about my choosing of indie author books. It inspired this blog post on Stephanie Jane. We discovered a mutual love of global literature and this Sri Lankan is one DubaiReader highly recommends.

DubaiReader's rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eddie Trusted, an English school teacher in Colombo, wants to spend his life with Menaka Rupasinghe, a vibrant Sri Lankan beauty, but as with all matters of the heart, there’s an obstacle. If Eddie wants to wed Menaka, it is Thilak Rupasinghe, her orthodox terror of a father, whom he must woo and whose farts he must kiss – Thilak wants his daughter to marry someone of the same race, religion and caste, and if possible from the same locality.
In a desperate bid to make his dream a reality, Eddie tries to connect with Thilak in other ways – eating curries that make him bleed spice and breathe fire, driving drunk through red lights, threatening co-workers with violence, and sleeping with snakes. But will Eddie ever be good enough for a man who hates the colour of his skin?
Sparkling with wit and featuring an endearing cast of characters, The Amazing Racist is the story of a man who finds a home among strangers, of a father-in-law whose bark is worse than his bite, and of bonds that grow to be stronger than family ties.

DubaiReader says: The best book I've read in a while.

I read this book because I was visiting friends in Sri Lanka and it happened to coincide with the author coming to visit their book group - what amazing good luck! I had no idea what to expect, I'd never heard of Chhimi Tenduf-La before, but The Amazing Racist was such an entertaining book that the 240 pages flew by and when I met the author, he was charming.

The narrator and main protagonist is Eddie Trusted. He is in Sri Lanka, teaching English in a school, when he meets Menaka, a beautiful Sri Lankan girl. They plan to marry but first he must pass muster with Menaka's father, the irascible Thilak Rupasingh. Actually, irrascible is almost too generous a word as Thilak Rupasingh is wholeheartedly against the match and does everything he can to cause trouble. Then Thilak Rupasingh becomes a grandfather and a softer, more loving side to his character appears and we can't help but feel some degree of affection for him, in spite of our better judgment.

There are some great lines in this book, I kept highlighting them one after another: "Yes, they had made a special kind of 'mild' chicken curry for the white man. It seemed they had run out of chicken and subbed it with more red chilli. Even my nipples began to weep." "Columbo mumbo jumbo" " 'Your marriage to a suddha (white man) is more likely to be the death of me than a few drinks and cigarettes' " " 'I'm embracing your culture', I say. 'You're embarrassing my culture' he says."

A lighthearted read with a message about love and loyalty, I'd recommend this as a most enjoyable book.

Thank you DubaiReader!

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Books by Chhimi Tenduf-La / Humorous fiction / Books from Sri Lanka

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