Book Review: The Amazing Racist

The Amazing Racist by Chhimi Tenduf-La is modern-day novel set in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Eddie is a teacher from England who falls in love with Menaka, an attractive Sri Lankan woman. However, before Eddie can marry Menaka, he must first gain the approval of Thilak, Menaka's father -- no small feat.

To put it mildly, Thilak does not make things easy for Eddie. (After all, a man like Eddie is not what Thilak had in mind for his beloved daughter.) Nonetheless, the Englishman does eventually get Thilak's approval to marry his daughter.

Before too long a child enters the picture, although Eddie and Menaka's married life is far from perfect. What's particularly interesting is observing how Eddie's relationship with his father-in-law evolves.

At its core, this is a book about relationships and emotions that transcend both generations and culture. The struggles of marriage; the challenges of parenthood; being a foreigner in a distant land; and more. It's a light read that touches on important topics from family to fidelity to love. What's more, the book is infused with lively dialogue which is consistently entertaining and, at times, funny. The book largely avoids the country's complex (and fascinating) politics, though the story doesn't suffer at all.

The Amazing Racist is Tenduf-La's first novel; he's off to a good start. The author knows how to tell a compelling story that's also accessible and fun. Readers looking for an easy, amusing read are likely to enjoy this one.