Marriage of a Thousand Lies is a moving, beautifully written story about family and love, and the difficult choices we must make to honour both. The narrator, Lucky, is gay, as is her husband Krishna. Theirs is a marriage of convenience, appeasing their families’ marital aspirations for their children while allowing both the freedom to continue enjoying same-sex relationships on the side.
Lucky is forced to reexamine her life when she learns that Nisha, her childhood best friend and first lover, has announced her engagement. Family expectations forced them to break up when they were younger, but now that they’re adults, Lucky feels compelled to save both Nisha and herself from loveless marriages and pursue their own happy ending. But does Nisha even want to be saved?
Marriage of a Thousand Lies is a beautifully written book that just draws you into Lucky’s life and immerses you in her world. More than the love Lucky feels for Nisha, it’s the love she feels for her family that reverberates from the page, as well as the painful tension between what Lucky wants and what her duty to her family dictates. I absolutely love the nuances in the relationships between the characters; Sindu’s writing makes Lucky feel real, and we want her to find happiness.
I also love the character of Lucky’s husband Krishnu. While Lucky scoffs at her grandmother’s desire for them to have a baby, Krishnu admits it’s something he’s been considering. Unlike Lucky, who’s longing to free herself from the constraints of tradition, Krishnu is perfectly happy with their arrangement, and values the stability afforded by the facade of their marriage as much as he does the freedom to go out partying with other men. There’s also a very real power dynamic in play here, as his residency in the US is dependent on his marriage to Lucky, and so his desire to remain married to Lucky is also in part a desire to remain in America.
The book presents no easy answers, but rather gives us family and tradition and love in all its glorious messiness. It’s a fantastic debut, and with so many contemporary LGBTQ books with diverse characters on my radar being YA, this adult novel about a lesbian of Sri Lankan descent is a much welcome addition to my shelves.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.