30 October 2010

Romesh Gunesekera, Reef, 1994

In Reef Gunesekera treads the familiar territory of his short stories with the way he depicts the tensions of Sri Lanka impacting on daily lives, even though his stories are mostly gentle and everyday. Here he goes a little further, Reef being a story about reconciling the past and the need to make memories tangible in the present. It's the story of Triton who, at the age of eleven, goes to work as a houseboy and later becomes a very good chef in the house of Mr Salgado, an amateur marine biologist and dilletante. Centred around these two people there is some wonderful character development, and Triton's recollection of the experiences that have shaped them both inside and out is particularly well communicated. Drenched in nostalgia Reef touches on all the senses. A memorable book.  PY


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