Swimming in the Monsoon Sea

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea

Book - 2005
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Nominated for the Governor General's Literary Awards 2005, (Children's Literature, Text)


The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life "before," when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith's holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school's production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky's tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith's ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed.

Shyam Selvadurai's brilliant novels, Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens, have garnered him international acclaim. In this, his first young adult novel, he explores first love with clarity, humor,
and compassion.
ISBN: 9780887767357
0887767354
Characteristics: 274 pages ;,20 cm.

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EuSei Sep 24, 2012

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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ReadingintheCorner
Mar 06, 2011

ReadingintheCorner thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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jstoneerdman
Aug 11, 2015

I'll admit, I found the first 90 or so pages slightly slow, but once Niresh shows up things got a lot more interesting. I loved Amrith's affection and feeling of possessiveness toward his cousin, emotions Amrith justifies with the fact that his parents were taken from him when he was young and his extended family turned their backs on him because of scandal surrounding his parents' marriage. Niresh's fierce, bold, wild-child attitude is the perfect contrast to Amrith's quiet, reserved one. All characters are likable and three-dimensional, but Amrith was especially empathetic. When he began to feel as though he were losing his cousin to the attention of his sisters, I felt his pain. When he was struggling to balance his increasing inner turmoil (regarding his feelings for Niresh and discovering his sexuality) with competing for an important part in the school play, I felt his anguish. His is a character easy to root for. I enjoyed learning about Sri Lankan culture, the ways its traditional roots compared and contrasted with its westernization. The author's voice was just mesmerizing, putting me into an almost sedative state as I read this charming novel.

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