Review - When life gives you lemons, make limoncello by Anura
I picked this book up and it is part of my reading for the South Asian Challenge 2011 hosted by S. Krishna. I had never ever heard of this author, I knew he was Sri Lankan even before I picked up the book as the name is very Sri Lankan but what clinched it was that there was no surname for this author until I did a bit of research and found out about Anura Saparamadu who lived a good part of his years in New York and then moved to Italy in 2001 before returning home post tsunami.
The book covers Anura's life so it is a kind of memoir which is fun, not orthodox and gives one an insight into life as an immigrant. Anura is not the average John or should I say Sunil in Italy - the one who jumps a boat off a coast in Sri Lanka and surreptitiously finds his way to the Italian coast and within a couple of years obtains his documents and eventually sponsors his entire clan. Success stories like this are myriad in Sri Lanka (of course along with the failures) but it is heartening nevertheless. Anura already well established in New York post 9/11 decides to take the plunge as an English teacher in an institute teaching English to the Italians.
His life there, his loves there, his friends - all form part of the story and a very happy go lucky life it seems to be. Despite an erratic and maddening boss, friends provide all the comforts and support of home and Anura seems to be very happy in his day to day life. With the advent of the tsunami, Anura decides to return home. It provided a startling change for me anyway as most immigrants do not return home, however green the pastures have become. Anura was also different in that he did not come from an impoverished background - he did not go as an economic refugee (on the contrary) he came from a very comfortable background and went as he was bored and he wanted a change of scene.
The story was unusual in lots of aspects - definitely not the run of the mill immigrant made good story - and was a very fun read.
Specially after the last three days of constant travelling, this was a nice book to finish the weekend with.