Lush and beautiful, Cinnamon Gardens is a story of intertwined lives in the gracious world of Ceylon in the 1920s In a novel of exceptional achievement, Shyam Selvadurai evokes the life of the upper classes of Colombo's wealthy suburb, Cinnamon Gardens, at a time when the power of colonial rule in the country is shifting. It tells the story of Annalukshmi, a young schoolteacher, who finds herself caught between her family's pressures to marry and her own desire for a more independent life; a life she sees reflected in her mentor, Miss Lawton, a progressive headmistress. She comes to realize that this life is fraught with complexities and danger and with rules that cannot be broken. There is also Balendran, the obedient son of a domineering patriarch, whose story is brilliantly counterpointed with that of his niece Annalukshmi's. He leads a comfortable existence with his wife Sonia till he learns that Richard Howland is to arrive in Colombo. This uneasy reunion with a lover from the past throws Balendran into turmoil and re-ignites tensions with his father. As the narrative unfolds and deepens a varied cast of characters emerge, including Louisa, Annalukshmi's mother who, in the face of a failed marriage, struggles to raise her daughters alone; Arul, Balendran's exiled brother; and the delightfully high-strung and meddlesome Philomena Barnett. Selvadurai's sensual descriptions and keen insights take us behind the fragrant gardens and polished surfaces to reveal a world of splintered families, conflicted passions and lives destroyed by class hatred. With this novel, the author confirms his earlier promise as one of Sri Lanka's most distinctive and talented new voices.