Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this thoughtful, entrancing tale of a Sinhalese houseboy’s maturation takes place in the early s, in the edenic calm before. Reef by Romesh Gunesekera. cubicle light went out. Then, as the stars brightened, I remembered a bay-fronted house six thousand miles away.” — from Reef. Romesh Gunesekera’s Reef manages to align and illustrate these two congruent ideas. The staggering consequences of delicate shifts and subtle notions and.
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Reviews Page Reef — Romesh Gunesekera
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Return to Book Page. Preview — Reef by Romesh Gunesekera. Reef by Romesh Gunesekera Goodreads Author. Reef is the elegant and moving story of Triton, a talented young chef so committed to pleasing his master’s palate that he is oblivious to the political unrest threatening his Sri Lankan paradise.
It is a personal story that parallels the larger movement of a country from a hopeful, young democracy to troubled island society. It is also a mature, poetic novel which the Bri Reef is the elegant and moving story of Triton, a talented young chef so committed to pleasing his master’s palate that he is oblivious to the political unrest threatening his Sri Lankan paradise.
Naipaul, and Anton Chekhov. Reef earned universal praise from European critics and landed the young author on the short list for the Booker Prize, England’s highest honor for fiction. Reef explores the entwined lives of Mr. Salgado, an aristocratic marine biologist and student of sea movements and the disappearing reef, and his houseboy, Triton, who learns to polish silver until it shines like molten sun; to mix a love cake with ten eggs, creamed butter, and fresh cadju nuts; to marinade tiger prawns; and to steam parrot fish.
Through these characters and the forty years of political disintegration their country endures, Gunesekera tells the tragic, sometimes comic, story of a lost paradise and a young man coming to terms with his destiny. Published by Granta first published Man Booker Prize Nominee To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Reefplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Oct 06, Jim Fonseca rated it it was amazing Shelves: An engaging story of servant and master in Sri Lanka. Triton, the servant, calls his master “The Mister.
The Mister does little besides exist and piddle around. He writes and throws an occasional party and then falls in love. There is not a whole lot of plot otherwise. After the failed love affair, master and servant leave for England. We are also treated to some delightful gastroporn as the servant lo An engaging story of servant and master in Sri Lanka. We are also treated to some delightful gastroporn as the servant lovingly prepares meals.
Don’t we all wish we had a devoted servant like Triton? In fact, he has far more initiative and common sense than the Mister. A strong flavor of Merchant and Ivory and “Masterpiece Theater.
View all 15 comments. The type of novel that affects you in the gut. All the dishes our protagonist prepares for his master seem scrumptious, the tongue salivates profusely with this much food porn!
But this book is exquisite in its crisp prose, its wholesome, universal tone. It’s a story as ancient as the replenishing-then-destroying corals of the bright reef.
I feel like I finally got back on track with this one, reading my favorite typ The type of novel that affects you in the gut. I feel like I finally got back on track with this one, reading my favorite type of novel. The one which proves to have truly earned its myriad positive critical reviews.
I have fond memories rfef this one! It’s not what we do every day but the thoughts we live with, gentleman amateur of science Mister Salgado says. Triton, his cook and disciple, contemplates in this story not the ecosystems of the reef and shore that fascinate the man he serves, but Mister Salgado himself, his moods and needs, his relationships, and above all the food to be prepared for him. At times I felt that Triton was Mister Salgado’s heart, feeling more intensely than the man he watches vicarious excitement, jubilation, mise It’s not what we do every day but the thoughts we live with, gentleman amateur of science Mister Salgado says.
At times I felt that Triton was Mister Salgado’s heart, feeling more intensely than the man he watches vicarious excitement, jubilation, misery. He has his own life and ideas, devouring hundreds of books, but in this little book, he orbits his employer. I was reminded of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ‘s novel Half of a Yellow Sunone strand rewf which is narrated by the protagonists’ houseboy, and also V. S Naipaul’s novella In a Free Stategunesekeea, quite similar in structure but totally different in mood, is told from the point of view of a servant.
Is the servant-narrated tale doomed to be bourgeois? Mister Salgado’s taciturn assistant Wijetunga reveals himself to be some sort of communist sympathiser in a very vague conversation that makes Triton shiver uncomfortably. Nobody reading this could gunfsekera wish for any kind of revolution. No world could be happier than this, surely? So, it’s a lightweight book, a crisp and shimmering snowflake of a story that opens a channel for empathy, not solidarity. Hence, I can’t give 5 stars.
The sensuous pleasures of cerebral activity he is Fanon’s colonized intellectual absorb Mister Salgado’s attention a little less as he falls in love with Miss Nili.
Reef Summary & Study Guide
Triton falls in love with her too of course, but only insofar as he is Mister Salgado’s heart; he cannot separate from the other man to become jealous, to desire his own relationship with Miss Nili, he only wants their love to guneskeera, and to that end woos both of them with ever more sumptuous food. In this floating dreamworld, gunesekrra is an increasingly ugly rumble in the background, but Gunesekara isn’t subsuming it here; its parallel, I think, is the quietly dying reef, an ecological disaster going on unremarked, and the land-hungry sea.
Sooner or later the country will explode into violence, Mister Salgado in his books, his love, his social life, the cosy cocoon of his mind, can stay untouched by it only so long.
A journalist comes to ask him how the rising sea level is affecting life in coastal villages, a subject he knows nothing about. The question disturbs him, but he responds with a kind of extravagant denial: As a food-lover I relished the care and detail given to describing cooking and preparing, but as a vegan I was often disgusted as well!
This admixed delight and disgust is perhaps not unintended. Disgust, anger at violence, is evoked on purpose. In Triton’s mind chicken fat and milk floating in water mirrors talk about astrology, a milky way taking a destined shape. I disagree with gunesekrea reading.
The seemingly inevitable violence guneseoera come is signalled in the bodily fluids of farmed animals, yet no killing, suggested in the stars or rerf, is unavoidable — people choose to exploit, torment gunnesekera murder others, and have the power to do otherwise.
Triton, without power, without community, can only observe from his shelter. He is lucky, and the eref ends happily this isn’t a spoiler because the tale opens with its ending — it’s told as memory because the personal, the emotional, is always paramount. What terrible things happen, elsewhere, we muse, standing above the strandline.
But deeper reflection comes to us there; as Triton muses, the sea is all one. View all 6 comments. Oct 23, Steve rated it liked it. The reef to which Salgado is notionally and limply attached to and its impending destruction is an allegory for the impact of political change happening in the country at the time, and the tragedy in the writers eyes unfolding of a rather brutal destruction of way of life held dear. A passionate but ultimately wasted love affair woven through tells the same story.
But to conserve, to protect, to care for the past is something we have to learn. A nice soft book to read, with a low simmering undercurrent adding some spice.
Enjoyable, but for me the sambol was ultimately a little bland, too many questions left out there The first book I read of Romesh Gunasekara. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed every page.
In some instances I could almost taste the love cake and the freshly fried patties. Salgado would’ve been people I knew or seen in the society pages of a Sunday Newspaper.
Apr 18, Leke Giwa rated it it was amazing. Jul 27, Colleen added it. The best storytellers and stories seem to come from Sri Yunesekera. Feb 09, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: This is beautiful, sensual writing. I heard Romesh Gunsekera on the BBC’s World Book Club and was tremendously impressed by his unassuming wisdom and ability to share his knowledge about fine writing.
The novel skillfully adapts its tone to the protagonist’s aging from about 10 to 16 or so, I would guess. The scenes shift back and forth from brutality, early on for the boy, to love, joy, delight, and violence again. There is no explanation for any of it, except the basic decency that is the foun Gujesekera is beautiful, sensual writing.
There is no explanation for any of it, except the basic decency that is the foundation of the relationship between the boy and the man he works for, to set against the horrific violence referred to briefly at the end of the novel as Sri Lanka sinks into civil war. The reader rreef left with the conclusion that one cannot really affect very much, but one can enrich his own and others lives through caring for them. Dec 29, Paul rated it really liked it Shelves: Loved this book; paradise lost destroyed by man’s greed and inhumanity.
But there is a love story running through it and a passion for food cooked with love and care. It begins in a tropical paradise and ends in grey and wet London; sounds the wrong way round to me! View all 5 comments.