Mosquito Hardcover – May 3 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In Tearne's beautifully crafted debut, middle-aged novelist Theo Samarajeeva leaves London after the death of his wife and returns to his native Colombo, Sri Lanka, which has been ravaged by the continuing civil war between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese majority government. In his many novels, Theo, who is Sinhalese, empathizes with the Tamil cause, but he refuses to take any extra precautions for his own safety on returning, despite the danger his books bring. After teenage artist Nulani Mendis, whose father was burnt alive by separatists, continually appears in his garden, where she draws in solitude, Theo commissions her to paint his portrait. As Theo and Nulani's lives become increasingly intertwined, genuine romance begins to unfold, but dangers lurk: a menacing former Tamil child solider, Vikram, has taken a liking to Nulani; meanwhile, Nulani's venomous uncle soon learns of the relationship with Theo. Tearne captures the desperation, fear and hope of love during wartime, showing multiple sides of the human capacity for survival. (July)
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'"Mosquito" plays with sensuous mixes of human bestiality and natural beauty!It is in this continuing agency of remembered love -- presented as the colours, sounds and smells of art, in dialogue with beauty and horror -- that the uplifting politics of this fine novel lies.' Independent 'Heart-rending!Readers of this powerful novel cannot fail to be moved!but they will also realise that, as well as being a rebuke to indifference, the book is also about hope and survival.' Christopher Ondaatje, Spectator '"Mosquito" lyrically captures a country drenched in both incomparable beauty and the stink of hatred.' Guardian 'Lovely, vividly described.' The Times 'Tearne brings her skills as a painter to her writing, creating some extraordinarily lovely portraits of Sri Lankan land and seascapes, a stunning backdrop to the changing horrors of the country's 20-year civil war. Anyone who has visited, or has a passing interest in Sri Lanka, should read this beautiful novel.' Sunday Telegraph '"Mosquito" is a complex, ambitious book from a writer with a real talent for language. We will be hearing a great deal about Ms. Tearne in the future.' Lauren B. Davis, author of 'The Stubborn Season' and 'The Radiant City' '"Mosquito" is a beautifully moving, suspense-filled story about unlikely lovers that's gripping from start to finish. Set in Sri Lanka, it tells of a bittersweet romance between a young artist and a writer, a relationship that slowly becomes entangled in the mess of the local civil war. Tearne's ethereal descriptions of the Sri Lankan coastline and the powerful accounts of a country ripped apart by violence make for an emotional and exceptional novel.' Easy Living Magazine 'Beautiful and evocative! The true horror and unreason of terrorism as depicted here speak to our own worst fears and remind us that terrorism has been with us in many guises and many places for a much longer time than we tend to remember!Gripping and original.' Sydney Morning Herald 'There are some beautiful passages in "Mosquito"!These flashes of true beauty, along with an impressively sustained forward drive, are enough to make "Mosquito" an engaging and thought-provoking novel.' Times Literary Supplement 'Anyone who has a passing interest in Sri Lanka should read this beautiful novel.' Sunday Telegraph 'Mosquito shimmers with evocative prose but it also resonates with the darkness of men's cruelty. This is not a thriller, but the tension is palpable. Don't be surprised if the film rights are snapped up quickly.' The Courier Mail (Australia) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Just as his grief threatens to undo Theo, Nulani Mendis - a young artist - arrives on his veranda, and begins to draw him. After a time, Nulani's presence starts to heal Theo, and their friendship blossoms into something more.
But the civil war in Sri Lanka steps in and interferes. And, the reader is drawn further into the story, wondering how Nulani and Theo's newfound relationship could possibly survive.
I am absolutely amazed that this is the author's first book! It is beautifully written with flowing prose and vivid description. From the first pages, I was drawn into the story, feeling the humidity, hearing the buzz of the mosquitos and the lap of the waves on the seashore, and seeing the jungle foliage. Ms. Tearne has made Sri Lanka and its people come to life on the pages.
I found it incredibly hard to put this book down, so immersed was I in the story. I will most likely reread it in the future, as its depth is sure to have kept certain things hidden until a later time.
I look forward to reading more by this author!
After wealthy author, Theo Samarajeeva's wife is killed by a mugger on a dark, London street, he returns to his native Sri Lanka to try to find peace and inspiration in that lushly beautiful but dangerous country. He meets and falls in love with a lovely, young artist but "time and unforeseen occurrence" intervenes. Civil war between the Sinhalese and the Tamil Tigers has broken out and Theo is kidnapped and held captive for several years. Thinking he is dead, both his best friends and his young love try to make new lives for themselves but nothing can ease the pain of his disappearance.
Some of the descriptions of warfare and torture are so brutal, they are difficult to digest. And yet Ms. Tearne's love for her country shines through in the magnificence of her descriptions. She is herself an artist after all.
This is a difficult book to read and yet I am not sorry I have done so. I have often heard of the problems between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan government but this is the first time I have ever fully understood it. Definitely an intense novel and not for the "faint of heart".
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Nulani Mendis, a seventeen-year-old Sinhalese with a brutally violent uncle, a high-ranking government soldier, has been mute after watching her father burned to death. She has a fine talent as an artist, however, and when she meets Theo, who is twenty-eight years older than she, she begins to reenter the world again as she sets out to paint his portrait. Gradually, and carefully, they fall in love. Vikram, the prowling Tamil spy, now sixteen, is also in love with her.
When the war explodes in the countryside where these characters live, the Sinhalese, their associates, and friends find that they can no longer recognize the world as human. Though they know that "Living has always been a desperate business," many have found "art as our highest form of hope," but now relocation, imprisonment, torture, murder, and slow death become the norm, and there is no hope, other than escape, physical or emotional. Unconscionable violence alternates with scenes of exquisite love and the serenity of nature, leading to a fast-paced, suspenseful novel in which hope can never be completely extinguished.
Roma Tearne, who grew up in Sri Lanka, crafts a powerful novel, combining the horrifying violence and brutality of brainwashed boy soldiers and opportunistic power seekers with the sometimes lyrical portrayal of nature and the enduring power of love. Now a painter and film-maker in London, as well as a gifted writer, Tearne makes the fraught atmosphere come alive through almost tactile sense impressions, adding depth to this portrait of Sri Lanka, even as she uses the mosquito symbol to show that beauty, when it can be found, always comes with a price. n Mary Whipple
Heaven's Edge: A Novel, Romesh Gunesekera's mystical story of Sri Lankan violence
Roma Tearne is also an artist and her book "Mosquito" is crafted like a painting, a watercolour filled with dense visions of tonality,temperature and emotion. Her tale is that of a road that begins within the boundaries of an isolated backwater cottage in Sri Lanka, a garden surrounded by lush vivid green vegetation. A special love affair is in the making and there is no better place for this to grow and nourish. The love shared by Theo and Nulani is witnessed by Theo's faithful servant Sughi. It is lavishly described, contructed with care as it evolves through the black and white of written words, the vivid colours of oil paint and the dense blue-green of the Indian Ocean.
Tearne allows every wonderful detail of this private, tender relationship to slide through the humid climate of Sri Lanka but she knows that love cannot isolate itself. Theo's private garden is no longer a shield against the violent eruption of the civil war where Roma's road forces us into the ugliness of human dramma. The lush and intense colours of love are abandoned as the neutrality of grey and darkness surround the unheard cries of pain and tragedy.
If Theo's memories of Nulani allow him to live, to survive the horror of men's cruelty, what remains is a void, the emptiness of a white canvas. The tired remains of Theo's complex road that is his (and our) life leads to the safety of civilisation where the beauty of love sleeps and where the lapse of time may possibly mend the unresolved hues caused by separation and the scars of war.
".......Some say art is our greatest form of hope,'....'Perhaps it's our only hope. Living has always been a desperate business."
Thank you Roma Tearne, thank you dearly.
After wealthy author, Theo Samarajeeva's wife is killed by a mugger on a dark, London street, he returns to his native Sri Lanka to try to find peace and inspiration in that lushly beautiful but dangerous country. He meets and falls in love with a lovely, young artist but "time and unforeseen occurrence" intervenes. Civil war between the Sinhalese and the Tamil Tigers has broken out and Theo is kidnapped and held captive for several years. Thinking he is dead, both his best friends and his young love try to make new lives for themselves far from Sri Lanka but nothing can ease the pain of his disappearance.
Some of the descriptions of warfare and torture are so brutal, they are difficult to digest. And yet Ms. Tearne's love for her country shines through in the magnificence of her descriptions. She is after all, herself, an artist.
This is a difficult book to read and yet I am not sorry to have done so. I have often heard of the problems between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan government but this is the first time I have ever fully understood it.
This is definitely an intense novel and not for the "faint of heart".