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A Disobedient Girl

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A Disobedient Girl Cover

ISBN13: 9781439101957
ISBN10: 1439101957
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In one of the most impressive debuts of the year, Ru Freeman delivers an epic, searing novel about betrayal and salvation, the strength of the human spirit, and the boundlessness and limits of love.

Set against the volatile events of the last forty years of Sri Lankan history, A Disobedient Girl traces the lives of three characters whose interwoven fates and histories force them to answer life's most difficult questions. Beautiful, haunting, alive, and brimming with truth, it is, above all, a novel about extraordinary circumstances that change life in an instant and the power of love to transcend time and place.

The story begins with two little girls, mistress and servant, one with every luxury and opportunity that money can buy and the other with nothing but her yearning for a better life. Together, they grow up bound by love, betrayal, resentment, and an impossible secret.

Then there is Biso, a devoted mother of three, who risks everything to escape from the hands of her tyrannical husband. But her journey, which begins with such hope, takes her on a disastrous path that ultimately leads her to give her life over to strangers she never imagined she would have reason to know, binding her story with that of the girls in the most unexpected and heartbreaking of ways.

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling exploration of personal desire set against the volatile backdrop of class and prejudice, as three women journey toward their future, united by a shared history but separated by different fates. A bold and deeply moving account that spans three decades of love and loss, it is a tale about the will to survive and the incredible power of the human spirit to transcend the unforgiving sweep of tragedy.

Review:

"Ru Freeman's debut novel chronicles the trials and travails of two Sri Lankan women and their pursuit of freedom. Orphaned then absorbed as a servant into a well-to-do Sri Lankan family at the age of five, Latha Kumari grows up in tandem with the family's spoiled young daughter, Thara. However, Latha's mysterious origins and ambiguous caste ensure her a future of unpaid servitude in the Vithanages's household. Resentful, she involves herself with the man meant for Thara. This choice ultimately causes her loss and suffering. Alongside Latha's story is that of Biso's, who is fleeing a drunken abusive husband, a murdered lover and townspeople who whisper 'whore' as she walks past. Biso escapes blindly to the salvation and promise of distant relatives in the north, but her journey with her three children across the country is tainted by murder and terrorism. The kindness of strangers runs out, but the end of Biso's tragic journey will end up being the promise of Latha's future. Freeman illustrates contemporary Sri Lankan life through the battles waged between lovers, friends and strangers alike in this study in dignity, strength of character, tolerance and perseverance. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Freeman tells the story of two women in Sri Lanka, strangers to one another, yet united by an undying love, as they travel towards an unimaginable destiny.

Synopsis:

In one of the most impressive debuts of the year, Ru Freeman offers us a mesmerizing tale set in her native Sri Lanka of two women, strangers to one another, whose destinies are inextricably and tragically bound.

In her heart, Latha knows that she was not meant to be a servant. She was born for finer things like the rosesmelling Lux soap she steals, the glasses of fresh lime juice that she helps herself to, and the brand new shoes she begs for. But her fate is dictated by the Vithanages, the family she has been working for since she was five years old. We follow Latha’s story for thirty years as she fights for her dignity and navigates the loss of her innocence, competing with Thara Vithanage—a girl her own age who enjoys every freedom that Latha yearns for but is denied, including the love of an ordinary boy. Interwoven with Latha’s story is the tale of Biso, a devoted mother who has decided to leave her coastal Southern town and escape from her abusive husband, taking her three young children with her. But her journey toward a better life in the mountains results in a series of devastating missteps that connects her life with that of Latha’s in an unexpected and heartbreaking way. A Disobedient Girl is a compelling exploration of personal desire set against the volatile backdrop of class and prejudice as two women journey toward their future, united by a shared history but separated by different fates.

About the Author

Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan writer whose political journalism and fiction has been published internationally. She lives in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Mary Akers, March 23, 2010 (view all comments by Mary Akers)
Ru Freeman’s gorgeous debut novel A Disobedient Girl opens with eleven-year-old Latha enjoying her daily indulgence—an afternoon wash at the well using a rose-scented soap. The soap is a symbol of status and she has stolen it from the Vithanages, a family raising her to be a servant for Thara, their same-age daughter. The two young girls become as close as sisters, but as the years pass and Latha’s duties to Thara increase, she begins to bristle in her role as servant. When she and Thara flirt with a pair of local boys, Ajith and Gehan, the obvious class disparities rise to the surface and Latha fumes with resentment. Thara proclaims Ajith her ideal mate and Latha comes to care for Gehan, a gentle, lower-caste boy who obviously cares for her. But the course of love (as they say) never runs smoothly and the romantic lives of Latha and Thara are no exception. A simple desire to show that she is more than just a servant girl, and to be rewarded for her years of service, sets Latha on a path that will affect the lives of everyone she touches.

Throughout the novel, Latha and Thara’s story parallels that of Biso, a young mother of three who flees an abusive husband as well as a scandal in her small village that she helped to create. How these two stories will intersect is unclear for much of the book, but the author’s steady hand and gorgeous prose lead us along with full confidence that they will eventually come together. A pair of gold earrings, a red sports car, and a series of mysterious explosions give us tantalizing glimpses along the way, but things are never quite what they seem. And the life-changing secrets that bind these women together are the very secrets that tear their lives apart. Moving with the characters through love lost and love gained, through surprise insights and tragic misunderstandings, the reader is enticed forward to a thrilling denouement that is the perfect combination of shock and sudden understanding. Days later, I’m still savoring the bittersweet longing delivered by A Disobedient Girl’s exquisitely resonant final chapter.
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itpdx, August 9, 2009 (view all comments by itpdx)
What a range of conflicting emotions! I thought the two main characters (actually all the characters) were sometimes strong, smart, weak, stupid, caring, giving, and selfish--just like real people. The book tells the story of two women--one over decades, the other over days. It is set in Sri Lanka and gives us a tantalizing taste of the society, culture, geography and recent history of a country that I know very little about.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781439101957
Author:
Freeman, Ru
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Women domestics
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women

A Disobedient Girl Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages Atria Books - English 9781439101957 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ru Freeman's debut novel chronicles the trials and travails of two Sri Lankan women and their pursuit of freedom. Orphaned then absorbed as a servant into a well-to-do Sri Lankan family at the age of five, Latha Kumari grows up in tandem with the family's spoiled young daughter, Thara. However, Latha's mysterious origins and ambiguous caste ensure her a future of unpaid servitude in the Vithanages's household. Resentful, she involves herself with the man meant for Thara. This choice ultimately causes her loss and suffering. Alongside Latha's story is that of Biso's, who is fleeing a drunken abusive husband, a murdered lover and townspeople who whisper 'whore' as she walks past. Biso escapes blindly to the salvation and promise of distant relatives in the north, but her journey with her three children across the country is tainted by murder and terrorism. The kindness of strangers runs out, but the end of Biso's tragic journey will end up being the promise of Latha's future. Freeman illustrates contemporary Sri Lankan life through the battles waged between lovers, friends and strangers alike in this study in dignity, strength of character, tolerance and perseverance. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Freeman tells the story of two women in Sri Lanka, strangers to one another, yet united by an undying love, as they travel towards an unimaginable destiny.
"Synopsis" by , In one of the most impressive debuts of the year, Ru Freeman offers us a mesmerizing tale set in her native Sri Lanka of two women, strangers to one another, whose destinies are inextricably and tragically bound.

In her heart, Latha knows that she was not meant to be a servant. She was born for finer things like the rosesmelling Lux soap she steals, the glasses of fresh lime juice that she helps herself to, and the brand new shoes she begs for. But her fate is dictated by the Vithanages, the family she has been working for since she was five years old. We follow Latha’s story for thirty years as she fights for her dignity and navigates the loss of her innocence, competing with Thara Vithanage—a girl her own age who enjoys every freedom that Latha yearns for but is denied, including the love of an ordinary boy. Interwoven with Latha’s story is the tale of Biso, a devoted mother who has decided to leave her coastal Southern town and escape from her abusive husband, taking her three young children with her. But her journey toward a better life in the mountains results in a series of devastating missteps that connects her life with that of Latha’s in an unexpected and heartbreaking way. A Disobedient Girl is a compelling exploration of personal desire set against the volatile backdrop of class and prejudice as two women journey toward their future, united by a shared history but separated by different fates.

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