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Edward Trusted, a young Brit comes to Sri Lanka on a two year teaching contract with an International school, and almost immediately meets, and is besotted with Menaka, the beautiful daughter of the leading lawyer, Thilak Rupasinghe. Thilak dislikes the white Edward and does not want grandchildren with blonde hair and blue eyes; he would rather that Menaka married a Singhalese Kandhyan.
On that note, begins the strange relationship between the racist and the Brit. Rupasinghe does all he can to make the white guy disappear – he reports on Edward’s moonlighting for extra money, when his visa does not allow him to work for anyone else. He puts him in awkward situations all the time, and when the wedding finally happens, Rupasinghe waxes eloquent on all except for Edward.
In his excitement of getting married to Menaka, Edward has ignored all signs of her true love, passion and unexplained absences. When Menaka withdraws from him and their new born baby Kiki, Edward is saddled with spending more time with his father-in-law. A strange bond, based on a shared love for Kiki develops between the two men and both become unlikely caretakers for each other.
I thought the title “The Amazing Racist” was interesting. The book is not only about reverse racism (if you can call it) against the whites, but also touches upon the deep divide between the Sinhalese and Tamil people in Sri Lanka. The narrative is set against the backdrop of Sri Lanka, and its sounds, smells and sights, and the accented English are all captured well!
Finally though, The Amazing Racist is a narrative on families we create for ourselves – ones that are not based on blood, but built on deeper emotional needs – and the distance we travel for those we consider family.
Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure, “The Amazing Racist” is a must-read!