The Japanese lover
If you’re wishing to escape but cannot afford the plane passage then this book The Japanese lover by Rani Manicka might just be the ticket for you. Rich in cultural description, magic realism & mysticism with equal serves of hardship and sexual discovery. This is a strange mix to throw into the pot, and one in which Rani Manicka did not quite succeed to achieve a five out of five star book, but The Japanese lover is perhaps a three out of five star book.
The reader hears the story of Parvathi, a young Ceylonese girl who finds herself married off in an arranged marriage to an older wealthy man. The catch is that her father deviously provided a photo, not of Parvathi but another much more beautiful girl. When Parvathi is shipped off to Malaya to theoretical marital bliss she finds herself confronted with an irate husband who is furious at having been deceived. Parvathi is the innocent party in the whole matter and eventually her wealthy husband consents to keeping her. She settles into her strange new existence. A life where she is the replacement wife, second to the first beloved wife who tragically died. Parvathi doesn’t fit into the wealthy, beautiful, showy existence of her husband and her life settles into a peculiar rhythm where she keeps company with husband despite the absence of love and befriends the servants despite the social taboo to do so.
The novel, set in the WWII era meets with turbulence when the Japanese invade Malaya. Parvathi’s wealthy husband dies and the estate is requisitioned by the Japanese. Parvathi must now find a way to survive the war for her families sake. Money and prestige no longer provide any safety or security. Ironically a Japanese general – one of the sworn enemy becomes her lover and Parvathi discovers sexual gratification for the first time in her life.