Mosquito Paperback – Apr 1 2007
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About the Author
Roma Tearne arrived with her parents in Britain from Sri Lanka at the age of ten and trained as a painter, completing her MA at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford. For nearly twenty years her work as a painter, installation artist, filmmaker and novelist has dealt with traces of history and memory in public and private spaces. Roma's first novel, "Mosquito", will be published in 2007. She is married with three children and lives in Oxford.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"They swarmed so thickly that they might easily have been mistaken for smoke. Rising swiftly from the water-filled holes dug by the gem miners in their search for sapphire, the mosquitoes seemed suspended in reflected light. For a moment the holes appeared as mirrored surfaces, blue as the sky. Farther out toward the coast, the rainwater filled the upturned coconut shells as they lay scattered across the groves. Here, the beautiful female Anopheles mosquitoes, graceful wings glinting in the sun, landed lightly and prepared to create a canoe of death for their cargo of eggs. The Ministry of Health sprayed the coconut groves with DDT to prevent outbreaks of malaria. The metallic smell drifted and mixed heavily with the scent of frangipani and hibiscus. There had been no epidemic for nearly five years. . . ." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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".