It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they—and she—will come to both revere and fear. The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans. But when she begins to understand her own feelings and desires and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman in Jamaica, and risks becoming the conspiracy's weak link.
A memoir of traditions lost and found, a flooded city, and the healing power of food. Mark Knoblauch said in a Booklist review: "Leaving Cairo’s familiar, if chaotic, streets in 1951 for the uncharted territories of America, Zonana finds herself a distinct minority. Even her fellow Brooklyn Jews know nothing about the traditions of Egyptian Jews, a community nearly obliterated in the aftermath of 1948’s Arab-Israeli conflict. Zonana grows up speaking French and English and doting on foods found only in Arab-owned stores. Her father prays daily, but the family neither keeps a kosher home nor observes the Sabbath. A parade of relatives passes through their Brooklyn home, including a grandmother devoted to Arab music unintelligible to the rest of the family. Zonana visits another beloved grandmother in Brazil, a journey that leaves her with indelible memories of the continent and a sense of a large and far-flung family. Eventually, Zonana’s academic gifts yield a professorship in New Orleans in time to endure the rigors of Katrina’s devastations. Zonana makes every human encounter lively."
A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing. Babi Segi's fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives, harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.
In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that "pendant off the ear of India, " Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family.
Set adrift by the recent death of his wife, Theo Samarajeeva abandons his comfortable writer's life in London and returns to Sri Lanka, his war- torn homeland. There he meets Nulani, a talented and enigmatic young artist. An unorthodox and tenuous love blossoms between this unlikely pair. Nulani finally feels love, and Theo sees hope in his future. But when the insurgency explodes, their precarious world is torn apart. Theo is held captive and stripped of everything he once held dear. Nulani is forced into exile. As the years pass, and the poison of war spreads across this paradise, will their love be lost forever?