Marriage of a Thousand Lies by S J Sindu

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Have you heard of ‘lavender marriages’? It’s a marriage of convenience to hide the true sexual orientation of the two people involved for society’s sake.

In S.J. Sindhu’s Marriage of a Thousand Lies it’s Lucky (short for Lakshmi) and Krishna who enter a lavender marriage. The story begins with Lucky temporarily moving to her mother’s house to take care of her grandmother. Here, she comes to know that her childhood friend, Nisha, is getting ready for an arranged marriage. Lucky and Nisha were lovers once and when they meet again after a long gap their feelings for each other spark up again.

Sindhu skilfully depicts the pressures and regrets that come with living a lie. Lucky has to keep up a pretence all the time when she is at her mother’s. She also chafes under her family’s cultural demands and her mother’s control, which deeply impacts her mental health. So much that she finds herself unable to react to situations in the way she is expected to.

But sometimes I felt that Lucky’s character could have been given a little more nerve especially when it came to Nisha. There were times when I felt frustrated and wished that Lucky would just say what she thinks. She lived in a fake marriage and took courage to do what she did. I wanted to see more flashes of that courage.

And despite all the things that Lucky goes through I actually couldn’t empathize or sympathize with her most of the time. In fact, I felt all of that for Krishna. There were times when Lucky displayed total disregard for his feelings or opinions, which made me feel like she was acting from an entitled perch. Perhaps a weird entitlement that comes from being a South Asian, lesbian, woman who needs to hide big parts of her identity, which therefore gave her the right of way?

I have mixed feelings about this book. The writing is great in parts and kept me engrossed especially in passages that brought out the Sri Lankan and Tamil community and culture. In others, it distanced me from the characters, and I felt lost.

A fast read, nevertheless, but one I wouldn’t overly recommend.

Image credit: Goodreads

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