Far Away, I Land

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How can you really understand a person without some idea of his or her background? First impressions are often wrong and always overly simple.

In Canada, young Beya has a loving, but fragile and flawed, family. As an adult living in Sri Lanka, she is intuitive and sensitive. What circumstances brought her here and made her who she is now? To answer that, the story delves deeply into the lives of her parents and of her husband, who she followed across the world.

Robert was born to an authoritarian, military general father and a glamorous blueblood mother, whose move from the social scenes of London to the wilds of Canada left her depressed and unloving. Constantly pressured to live up to his father’s ideal, Robert only really grew into his upbringing while serving as a major in World War II. He became a loved and admired officer, but the horrors of war changed him from an irresponsible, reckless young man to a hard-drinking, but serious and independent, man with an excellent head for business. Erzsike was a child in Hungary, who grew up under the threat of constant conflict, first from World War II and then through the Soviet occupation. Nevertheless, she had loving parents who protected her and taught her resilience and appreciation for beauty and family. A precocious girl, she quickly learned to read the attitudes of those around her and instinctively knew how to play the right games to survive, while keeping her independence, pride, and love for truth and goodness intact. Fleeing from the Soviet regime, she wound up friendless and isolated in Canada, where she tried to stitch together a new life.

Prema, Beya’s husband, grew up abused, starved, and neglected, but his indomitable spirit and his unwavering religious faith enabled him to survive, eventually to become a formidably successful businessman in his own right. On one fateful business trip to Canada, he met Beya, a college freshman, and they immediately fell in love. Beya’s sensitivity immediately draws her to this man, who she follows back to his home country of Sri Lanka; their love only deepens as they grow to understand each other through experiencing the world of Prema’s childhood home.

Far Away, I Land is a compassionate story. The characters are human and complex, and I grew deeply invested in them as I read. Little pieces of understanding fell into place gradually, so that the first glance snapshot of each character eventually gave way to a multidimensional, nuanced portrait. Even the villains became accessible, eliciting compassion and pity rather than hatred. The book will draw you in with its questions – why do these people act and react the way they do? The answers are inexplicable, until you get to know them. By the end of the novel, you feel that you do and are enriched by the experience. And isn’t that how life truly is? This novel reminds us that knowing and being known, our lives expand, until the circles of our acquaintances overlap and entwine, sculpting us in ways we would never have imagined. It is a sensitive, perceptive book, leaving me contemplative and reflective, and perfectly satisfied.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 370 pages
Publisher Inkwater Press
Publish Date 24-Jan-2014
ISBN 9781629010250
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Modern Literature


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