A review of Love Marriage by Gail Tsukiyama in Ms. Magazine:
In spare, lyrical prose, V. V. Ganeshananthan’s debut novel tells the story of two Sri Lankan Tamil families over four generations who, despite civil war and displacement, are irrevocably joined by marriage and tradition. At the heart of the story is American-born Yalini, 22, the only child of Tamil immigrants. Her father eventually becomes a doctor, her mother a teacher; they make their new life in the United States. Even so, Yalini feels bound to “the laws of ancestry and society.”
Born during “Black July” of 1983, the beginning of the civil war between the Tamil and Sinhalese, Yalini is haunted by Sri Lanka’s political turmoil, caught between the political and social traditions of her ancestors and the modern world in which she lives. She can’t forget that in a Sri Lankan family there are only two ways to wed, in an Arranged Marriage or a Love Marriage, even though she knows that “in reality, there is a whole spectrum in between, but most of us spend years running away from the first toward the second.”
Uncertain what to do with her life, Yalini takes time off from school and travels to Toronto to help her parents care for her dying Uncle Kumaran, her mother’s older brother, who immigrated to Canada.