Reef

Reef Reef is the elegant and moving story of Triton a talented young chef so committed to pleasing his master s palate that he is oblivious to the political unrest threatening his Sri Lankan paradise It i

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  • Title: Reef
  • Author: Romesh Gunesekera
  • ISBN: 9781862070943
  • Page: 469
  • Format: Paperback
  • Reef is the elegant and moving story of Triton, a talented young chef so committed to pleasing his master s palate that he is oblivious to the political unrest threatening his Sri Lankan paradise It is a personal story that parallels the larger movement of a country from a hopeful, young democracy to troubled island society It is also a mature, poetic novel which the BriReef is the elegant and moving story of Triton, a talented young chef so committed to pleasing his master s palate that he is oblivious to the political unrest threatening his Sri Lankan paradise It is a personal story that parallels the larger movement of a country from a hopeful, young democracy to troubled island society It is also a mature, poetic novel which the British press has compared to the works of James Joyce, Graham Greene, V.S Naipaul, and Anton Chekhov With his collection of short stories Monkfish Moon a New York Times Notable Book of 1993 Romesh Gunesekera quickly established himself as a leading literary voice Reef earned universal praise from European critics and landed the young author on the short list for the 1994 Booker Prize, England s highest honor for fiction Reef explores the entwined lives of Mr Salgado, an aristocratic marine biologist and student of sea movements and the disappearing reef, and his houseboy, Triton, who learns to polish silver until it shines like molten sun to mix a love cake with ten eggs, creamed butter, and fresh cadju nuts to marinade tiger prawns and to steam parrot fish Through these characters and the forty years of political disintegration their country endures, Gunesekera tells the tragic, sometimes comic, story of a lost paradise and a young man coming to terms with his destiny.

    One thought on “Reef”

    1. An engaging story of servant and master in Sri Lanka. Triton, the servant, calls his master "The Mister." He devotes his life to him, so much so that it is almost (but not) a homoerotic relationship. The Mister does little besides exist and piddle around. He writes and throws an occasional party and then falls in love. There is not a whole lot of plot otherwise. After the failed love affair, master and servant leave for England. We are also treated to some delightful gastroporn as the servant lo [...]

    2. The type of novel that affects you in the gut. O yea. Seriously. All the dishes our protagonist prepares for his master seem scrumptious, the tongue salivates profusely with this much food porn! & the locale! Sri Lanka! Ever been there? Neither have I. But this book is exquisite in its crisp prose, its wholesome, universal tone. It's a story as ancient as the replenishing-&-destroying corals of the bright reef. I feel like I finally got back on track with this one, reading my favorite ty [...]

    3. It's not what we do every day but the thoughts we live with, gentleman amateur of science Mister Salgado says. Triton, his cook and disciple, contemplates in this story not the ecosystems of the reef and shore that fascinate the man he serves, but Mister Salgado himself, his moods and needs, his relationships, and above all the food to be prepared for him. At times I felt that Triton was Mister Salgado's heart, feeling more intensely than the man he watches vicarious excitement, jubilation, mise [...]

    4. A story set in Sri Lanka in the 1960’s and 70’s told through the eyes of Triton, an 11-year-old who has finished his schooling and gone to work as a houseboy for Mister Salgado, a successful academic and ‘intellectual’. The book opens in Sri Lanka in 1962, ‘the year of the bungled coup’ and continues through the 1960’s and 70’s as revolutionary fever builds up in the country. The reef to which Salgado is notionally and limply attached to and its impending destruction is an allego [...]

    5. The first book I read of Romesh Gunasekara. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed every page.In some instances I could almost taste the love cake and the freshly fried patties. "Nili nona" and Mr.Salgado would've been people I knew or seen in the society pages of a Sunday Newspaper.

    6. This is beautiful, sensual writing. I heard Romesh Gunsekera on the BBC's World Book Club and was tremendously impressed by his unassuming wisdom and ability to share his knowledge about fine writing. The novel skillfully adapts its tone to the protagonist's aging from about 10 to 16 or so, I would guess. The scenes shift back and forth from brutality, early on for the boy, to love, joy, delight, and violence again. There is no explanation for any of it, except the basic decency that is the foun [...]

    7. Loved this book; paradise lost destroyed by man's greed and inhumanity. But there is a love story running through it and a passion for food cooked with love and care. It begins in a tropical paradise and ends in grey and wet London; sounds the wrong way round to me!

    8. "It's not what we do every day but the thoughts we live with."I think what I loved the most about this book was its beautiful and captivating prose - taking the reader to the Sri Lanka of the 70's and 80's and seeing it all through the eyes of a young boy who inevitably has to grow up.

    9. The novel opens on the island of Ceylon. It is 1962 and in ten years' time the country's name will change to Sri Lanka. Triton is an 11-year old boy who accidentally sets fire to a thatched roof in his school compound. He is taken by his uncle to the house of the young bachelor Sanjan Salgado where he is to be employed as a lowly houseboy under the tyrannical rule of Joseph the head servant. Mr Salgado is a marine biologist with an obsessive interest in all things related to the ocean that encir [...]

    10. Such a peculiar novel. The narrator, Triton, becomes Mister Salgado's houseboy when he is 11, in 1962. He describes his time in that household roughly until the civil war began in the early 80s--I think. It is often hard to know what is going on politically because Triton seems to barely leave the house. His world is so insular that he doesn't much know or care what is going on that isn't related to Mister Salgado's daily habits. This can be striking; his first visit to the ocean is described wi [...]

    11. Firstly, when I read this book, I think of my fiction class mentor, who is this book's author, speaking to me. And it helps because I knew him as a person who sees humour and whackiness in ordinary things. Reef's strength is in its compelling yet simple language and the chemistry between the characters of Ranjan Salgodo and Triton, Ranjan and Nila, Triton and Joseph. I thought that the part about Joseph running away from home could be developed into something more. The initial introduction of Jo [...]

    12. I can't give this book more than three stars because of how unevenly I liked the first and the second half of the book. It's a very slow-paced story, and it mostly takes place indoors, watching the interactions between the narrator, Triton and his "master", Mr. Salgado. This is why the first part of the book feels very slow, and it is hard to tell what is happening in the world outside: the story is set in Sri Lanka, starting in the 1960s, but the events of the time are mostly only alluded to.Wh [...]

    13. This is such a simple, yet compelling and beautiful tale. It highlights man's greed and how it leads to destruction at the same time as showing how man needs to provide and nurture and learn and protect. Titan's devotion to learning about food and where it ends up taking him is incredible, I could taste the meals he put together and felt his disappointment when praise for them was not forthcoming. The house he worked in was so symbolic of all aspects of Sri Lankan life that it is almost impossib [...]

    14. Reef is the first novel I have read by Romesh Gunesekera, and it has been an absolute delight. Literature has always welcomed marginal characters with open arms. Several iconic authors have been known to cull their characters from the peripheries of society and place them at the centre of their literary masterpieces. Reef is one such wonder. Shortlisted for the Booker in 1994, the book, through a charming and intimate narrative, offers a buffet of visual imagery and crafty metaphors. It not only [...]

    15. Often stories are not just stories. They are the author's way of processing an event that has deeply affected them or of working out a personal philosophy. Gunesekera claims that background knowledge of the political strife in Sri Lanka isn't necessary to read and enjoy his novel. However, without some context the references to the changes in Sri Lanka and the metaphor of the reef are lost on the reader. What remains is a mostly uneventful story of a houseboy who becomes a talented cook.

    16. I was reminded of Remains of the Day because of the servant/master theme. But neither the main character, Triton, who becomes, almost instantly, a wonderful chef, nor Mister Salgado, the master, really came to life. I expected to learn more about Sri Lanka's political changes, but details were skimpy. Some lovely descriptive writing on the country's fauna and flora kept me reading though the end, but ultimately, this quasi coming-of-age novel didn't seem worthy of the Booker prize nomination it [...]

    17. I'm going to admit straight out that I didn't finish this. I usually hate leaving books halfway through as I feel like I'm giving up on it and potentially missing a great rest of a book, but this was different. I just have no interest to finish the story as I only started reading it for English literature class and I've decided I don't want to study this novel anyway. So yeah, it was ok but not interesting enough for me to want to finish.

    18. I really wanted to like this book - the BBC world book club is doing it soon. But I thought it just did not work. The contrast between the relatively easy life of the characters and all the terrible trouble brewing in Sri Lanka did not come across well. I had difficulty in reconciling the rather flowery language with the narrator who was so ill educated. It was thin and undeveloped.

    19. "The Reef" by Romesh Gunesekera is an amazing book, understated and slow burning, set in post colonial Sri Lanka. Highly recommended.

    20. This is a short tale of a boy , triton, growing up as a houseboy and cook in Sri Lanka, in the home of a British educated Mr Salgado, a dreamy marine biologist. His culinary skills develop and eventually are his salvation. The cooking is lovingly described,as is the house and surrounds, in a small town. The writing is highly evocative, it is a growing up rather than coming of age story, quite slow paced, leading to his inevitable departure from the house of his master . An agreeable read, remind [...]

    21. I was getting ready to travel to Sri Lanka and thus wanted to read something by a Sri Lankan author to get a feel for the place. This book by Romesh Gunesekera painted an interesting image of life on this island before the insurgency in April 1971. The protagonist , Triton, is introduced as a somewhat troublesome boy whose family decides he needs a job and to move out. They place him as a houseboy in the home of a scholar, second to the head man. Triton is a quick study and a great observer of p [...]

    22. Velskrevet, sanselig, poetisk, rørende, humoristisk og tragisk. Srilankansk-britiske Romesh Gunesekera har styr på virkemidlerne i sin veldrejede og helstøbte debutroman Reef fra 1994 om Sri Lanka i 1960’erne og 1970’erne.Læs hele anmeldelsen på K's bognoter: bognoter/2017/07/19/romesh-

    23. I loved this. Super easy to read (short enough for one sitting) – and so well-written. I read it in advance of going to Sri Lanka, and it was a great introduction.

    24. A book like a warm breeze before rain. The plot and prose are unhurried, sinuous, a little melancholy. Reef captures a genteel post-colonial old-world on the brink of revolutionary collapse. But Sri Lanka’s Marxist upheaval ends up being an after thought. This book is really about waiting, about living fully in a world that will soon come to an end. The eponymous reef—itself bleaching slowly into obscurity—furnishes an apt metaphor. But the delicate coral is also given its own life by Gune [...]

    25. I set this book aside after a couple of chapters, because I had to read a book club book. I didn't return it because I thought I'd want to finish it, even though it had not grabbed me. It is more about atmosphere than plot and i loved the narrator and the atmosphere he created. From School LIbrary Journal review on : This coming-of-age story is set in Sri Lanka; one of Gunesekera's gifts is to give readers a taste of life on that strife-ridden island. It has at its core themes of defiance, rebel [...]

    26. Triton, a Shrilankan houseboy, started working for his master at the age of 11. He was so desperate to prove himself in eyes of his master as his aptitude. His feelings and desires were not ambitious, they were to do his best and complete his assigned task with expectation of appreciation. Triton's milieu has nothing dramatic to conceive. His world revolves around his master's order.Author narrated the story from the eyes of Triton. Story moves around Triton's daily chores from morning to evenin [...]

    27. I read Reef because I found myself sitting next to Romesh at diner one evening in Singapore. He was charming and entertaining company and I told him that I'd like to read one of his books. 'Oh, you don't have to' he said, but pressed on which I should try he suggested Reef. It was nominated for the Booker Prize and it's probably his most popular work.It's a gem of a book. It's short. One might argue whether it's a novel or a novella, but despite it's relative brivity its scope is such that it de [...]

    28. If you liked The God of Small Things, you will probably like this one too. I loved it! It's a slim volume, less than 200 pages, written with such love and affection that it's almost poetry. The book is set almost exclusively in a house in Colombo, written from the eyes of Triton, the servant boy. Absolutely nothing happens in the book. Triton comes to the house of Mr. Salgado and stays there, doing his work until one day they leave for England. Triton's life is simple. There is the house to look [...]

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