In this debut novel, Sri Lankan adoptee Paloma is 30 years old and recently cut off from her adoptive parents' funds when she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. When Arun discovers Paloma's darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country, Paloma plans to pay Arun off—but finds him facedown in a pool of blood before she has the chance.
I instantly took to the main character, Paloma. She's unlikeable from the start—impatient, frustrated, and entirely disinterested in making a good impression on the reader or anyone else around her. Her simmering anger instantly spoke to me, because it's something that many Asian American people can understand: exhaustion from having to play the part of the model minority ... a well-written psychological thriller that kept me hooked from beginning to end (no small feat right now, as my attention span is severely limited, thanks to world events). It's also surprisingly funny—Jayatissa has a great sense of humor that serves Paloma well as she slowly reveals her full self to the reader. But the exploration of Paloma's identity and character is what really drew me to this book and has me thinking about it long after I turned the final page ... It's thoughtful and engaging, but also quite profound. It's hard to believe this novel is a debut, but it makes me incredibly excited to see what Jayatissa does next, as she has a bright future ahead of her.
... a page-turning and often genuinely scary psychological thriller, filled with more twists and bite than a rattlesnake! It’s also a searing, brutally honest account of what it means to be a brown person and especially a brown woman in America ... I found so much of this book eminently relatable, and am so glad Amanda Jayatissa gives such uncompromising voice to people like me. Paloma is a deeply flawed heroine but her anger and complexity bring real heart and dilemma to this brilliant and audaciously crafted tale. This haunting fable showcases both how racism kills and how it helps you get away with murder. I loved it.
... opens with one of the best written and darkly humorous passages I have ever read ... This is a Hitchcockian thriller of the highest order with secrets, revelations and twists around every corner right through to the very end ... a tremendous read, and I hope this is just the start of a long and prolific writing career for the talented Amanda Jayatissa.