Goodreads blurb: Eddie Trusted, an English school teacher in Colombo, wants to spend his life with Menaka Rupasinghe, a vibrant Sri Lankan beauty, but as with all matters of the heart, there’s an obstacle. If Eddie wants to wed Menaka, it is Thilak Rupasinghe, her orthodox terror of a father, whom he must woo and whose farts he must kiss – Thilak wants his daughter to marry someone of the same race, religion and caste, and if possible from the same locality.
In a desperate bid to make his dream a reality, Eddie tries to connect with Thilak in other ways – eating curries that make him bleed spice and breathe fire, driving drunk through red lights, threatening co-workers with violence, and sleeping with snakes. But will Eddie ever be good enough for a man who hates the color of his skin?
Sparkling with wit and featuring an endearing cast of characters, The Amazing Racist is the story of a man who finds a home among strangers, of a father-in-law whose bark is worse than his bite, and of bonds that grow to be stronger than family ties.
There are more than a few things which tear me up, and until today, books were not on that list. But that last line of The Amazing Racist by Chhimi Tenduf-La opened up the tear glands, albeit just for a few seconds.
This lovely simple well written book does not have a complicated plot and has characters which all readers can easily relate to. I am more than sure that all readers of this book can relate to some or the other aspect of these characters to some traits and behaviors in themselves. And the story itself, to be honest, is quite clichéd. However, despite all these so called ‘flaws’, what makes this a must-read book is the fact that the author has written it from his heart. The plot itself, the situations, how the author deals with the myriad emotions of Eddie Trusted through the five odd years of his stay in Sri Lanka which form the crux of this book; these are the reasons to read this book.
The author very subtly tugs at readers’ heartstrings and appeals to their emotions using fatherhood and parenting as his hooks. I don’t read too many books in the ‘family drama’ genre, but this one and Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto [Link to my review] have dealt with the concept of parenting, parents and caregiving in a manner which I possibly cannot even imagine of. While we all hear stories of people literally giving up their own lives to be caregivers to their parents and loved ones, using that as the backdrop of an entire novel is something that this book and the one by Jerry Pinto take to an entirely new level.
Thilak Rupasinghe is your regular well to do Sri Lankan businessman who hates anything remotely colonial and it therefore doesn’t help that his daughter Menaka brings home a white boyfriend, Eddie Trusted and promptly announces that she intends to marry him. The first third of the book deals with how Thilak tries his best to drive Eddie out of his daughter’s life and in some cases, out of the country itself. This portion of the book nicely sets up for the events that happen in the second and final thirds of the book. I am not giving any more spoilers here as the paragraphs preceding this have already told enough about what this book is about.
Suffice to say that all parents and caregivers should read this book at least once, if not for anything else, at least for the fact that they would be able to appreciate the emotions that Eddie Trusted goes through in the last few pages of the book.