The prose is a triumph but the story, set in Sri Lanka during the civil war, plays too safe to leave a lasting impression: Open
Sal Mal Lane is a residential street 200 km from a clearing in a forest where a war was declared in 1976. Though this war would take place in Sri Lanka, and see its share of horrors conducted against a backdrop of a sun- kissed ocean, this conflict could well be in Crimea, or this street in Gujarat. And Ru Freeman, an immensely talented writer, conducts the narrative as if she were the air that lingered in verandahs that Tamils and Sinhalese, Muslim, Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist, inhabited. They lead lives affected by power struggles whose epicentres are remote, but they themselves are safely ensconced by love and shared responsibility, at least to begin with.