Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

On Sal Mal Lane

Cover of On Sal Mal Lane

On Sal Mal Lane

A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war

* A Library Journal Best Indie Fiction of 2013 * A Largehearted Boy Best Book of the Year *

On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there. As the neighbors adapt to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all.
In a heartrending novel poised between the past and the future, the innocence of the children—a beloved sister and her overprotective siblings, a rejected son and his twin sisters, two very different brothers—contrasts sharply with the petty prejudices of the adults charged with their care. In Ru Freeman's masterful hands, On Sal Mal Lane, a story of what was lost to a country and her people, becomes a resounding cry for reconciliation.

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war

* A Library Journal Best Indie Fiction of 2013 * A Largehearted Boy Best Book of the Year *

On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there. As the neighbors adapt to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all.
In a heartrending novel poised between the past and the future, the innocence of the children—a beloved sister and her overprotective siblings, a rejected son and his twin sisters, two very different brothers—contrasts sharply with the petty prejudices of the adults charged with their care. In Ru Freeman's masterful hands, On Sal Mal Lane, a story of what was lost to a country and her people, becomes a resounding cry for reconciliation.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you


About the Author-
  • Ru Freeman is the author of A Disobedient Girl. She is an activist and journalist whose work appears internationally. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 25, 2013
    Political activist and journalist Freeman’s second novel (after A Disobedient Girl) is set in early ’80s Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the start of the civil war between the Sinhalese government and Tamil Tigers. Sal Mal Lane, named for its trees, is home to Tamils, Sinhalese, and mixed-race Burgher families whose children, aware of what separates them, still enjoy a normal life (cricket matches, romantic longings, a musical show), though Freeman never lets it be forgotten that tragedy looms. The Sinhalese Herath children take piano lessons with a Tamil teacher and befriend her ailing father. The strange Raju, a young Tamil man, looks after Devi, the youngest Herath—a neighborhood favorite. The Silva family’s two boys want to join the army to fight the Tigers, and Tamil boy Sonna Bolling feels so alienated that he falls in with thugs. When violence finally arrives, Sonna tries to stop it but is instead blamed—with devastating consequences. Sustaining adult interest in young protagonists is Harper Lee–hard, and had this saga—which is three-quarters foreboding, one-quarter violent, heartbreaking denouement—been more concise, it could almost have been called a masterpiece. Agent: Julie Barer, Barer Literary.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2013
    Sri Lanka erupted into violence in the 1980s, with people identifying themselves as Tamil or Sinhalese, Hindu or Buddhist, Burgher or Muslim--the conflicts brewed over language policies, territories and curfews. Against this backdrop of sociopolitical unrest, Freeman (A Disobedient Girl, 2009) sets her second novel. The inhabitants of Sal Mal Lane, like a constellation of stars, orbit around the Herath family, whose house is in the middle of the street and whose matriarch embraces the songs and customs of many religions. A devout Buddhist, she nonetheless teaches her children to sing Christian hymns in four-part harmony. Gravity draws first the attention of Mr. Niles, who discerns a troubled soul through Nihil's uncertain voice; then Sonna Bolling, a bully and political thug-in-waiting; then the Silvas, whose own matriarch embraces every bias and prejudice; and later Raju, whose ugly face belies his lovely heart. Utterly devoted to his younger sister, Devi, Nihil negotiates the world of Sal Mal Lane and beyond, learning about Mr. Niles' previous war experience, which has left him chastened, aware that racial distinctions blur, and frightened to witness the rising turmoil. Slowly, the tensions ratchet up. Sonna joins an anti-Tamil gang, and violence intrudes into everyone's lives. Yet, the event that brings everyone to their knees has nothing to do with Tamil-Sinhalese tensions and everything to do with the pointless loss of innocent life. Freeman establishes her narrator in the prologue as the air, the road, the dreams that bind her characters together. The technique may weave the characters more closely, but it also distances the narrator and the reader from woes that befall Nihil, Devi, Sonna, Raju and their families. Lovingly written, historically rich and compassionate to all sides of the turmoil, this tale is also frustratingly distant, leaving the reader sympathetic but not fully engaged.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2013

    As in Freeman's absorbing 2009 debut, A Disobedient Girl, the intricate lives of young children also take center stage in this latest work. In 1979, the titular Sal Mal Lane is a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Sri Lanka's largest city and former capital, Colombo. The Herath family's arrival with four young children--Suren the musician, Rashmi the singer, Nihil the cricketer, and baby Devi the favored--reshuffles friendships and alliances along the lane. Beyond the safety of this quiet enclave, the rest of the country is at an impasse: ethnic, religious, and political differences stir among a population long plagued by divisions and colonizations. War looms, and tragedy proves inevitable: "Everyone who lived on Sal Mal Lane was implicated in what happened...while this story is about small people, we must consider the fact that their history is long and accord them, too, a story equal to their past." VERDICT Dates and events ground the novel specifically in Sri Lanka, but the universal narrative of family remains borderless. As witness and storyteller, Freeman never falters, revealing "what happened" with clarity and resolve in prose both lingering and breathtaking. The result is simply stupendous.--Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company Loss of innocence is probably a universal mark of coming-of-age, but much of the innocence lost in Ru Freeman's captivating On Sal Mal Lane, shouldn't be visited upon young people, or any people for that matter. This beautiful novel gives us children of a Sri Lankan lane at a certain historical moment. . . . Utter heartbreak is here--for the rapacious violence and madness of the world does come--and smile-as-you-read passages of larger spirits and powers being realized to the better. Ru Freeman's excellent A Disobedient Girl is now followed by a major leap up in accomplishment, empathy, artistry."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Graywolf Press
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 5 titles every 7 day(s).

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Enhanced Details

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Permissions

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Holds

Total holds:


Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
On Sal Mal Lane
On Sal Mal Lane
A Novel
Ru Freeman
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel