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The Prisoner of Paradise

Romesh Gunesekera

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Completed on 13 August 2022
ISBN : 9781408825662

When Lucy Gladwell arrives in Mauritius from England to live with her aunt and uncle in their grand plantation house, her mind is full of the poems of Keats and tales of romance . She is nonetheless unprepared for the beauty, fecundity and otherness of this island paradise between Africa and India, where she is to be waited on hand and foot by servants and free to let her thoughts drift on the sea breeze. If only they did not drift to such problematic subjects as the restrictions of colonial society, or the bigoted outbursts of her uncle, or the disquieting attractions of Don Lambodar, a young translator from Ceylon, himself entangled in thoughts of iniquity and desire and facing a decision which could risk his precarious position. Under the surface there is growing unease. For it is 1825: Britain has wrested power from France and is shipping convict labour across the Indian Ocean. The age of slavery is coming to its messy end. Word is lapping against the shores of the island - of revolts in Europe and the Americas, and of a charismatic new Indian leader who will shine the light of liberty. For Lucy, for Don, for everyone on the island, a devastating storm is coming... In this bold novel of intimate passions and colliding destinies, Romesh Gunesekera weaves together the story of two young lovers in search of freedom, and the eloquence of the bonded heart. 


A great book which such a great and unique theme. Lucy Gladwell, who is moving from England to Mauritius to live with her aunt and uncle in their lavish plantation home, has a lot of romantic stories and Keats poetry running through her head. However, she is unprepared for the splendour, fertility, and otherness of this island paradise between Africa and India, where she will be pampered and allowed to let her mind drift on the sea air. If only they hadn't veered off into contentious topics like colonial society's constraints, her uncle's bigoted outbursts, or Don Lambodar, a young translator from Ceylon who was himself preoccupied with thoughts of sin and desire and was about to make a choice that might jeopardise his life.

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