The Immigrant Experience

By Roshi Fernando
Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95, 288 pages

Roshi Fernando takes on the heavy subject of belonging in her book, Homesick. This novel revolves around a Sri Lankan family living in the UK. Preethi, the main character, struggles with being different due to her heritage and upbringing and living in a culture that values whiteness. The story also revolves around her brother Rohan, friends Nil and Claire, and aunts and cousins. Preethi befriends a boy that is an outcast due to his deformity, which leads to an interesting outcome. Preethi struggles with family secrets, her own unhappiness, London life and Sri Lankan cultural expectations.

Each chapter is written like a separate short story. Chapters are written in present day 1983 but flip back and forth to the past Sri Lankan life. The number of characters can be confusing, and I lost interest in the book after the first half. The topic of the immigrant experience was enticing, but the book did not deliver an engaging experience for me.

Reviewed by Seniye Groff

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