marriage of a thousand lies SJ SinduA lovely debut, Marriage of a Thousand Lies (Soho Press, June 13, 2017) brings to light the layers of struggles that shape our decisions on how we choose to live our lives. Lucky and her husband Kris are both gay, in a marriage of convenience to keep Kris in the country and for Lucky to mend the relationship with her disapproving family and save face in the eyes of the Sri Lanken community. Lucky returns home to care for her ill grandmother and is reunited with Nisha, her old friend whom she had a romantic relationship with when they were younger. Nisha is preparing for her arranged marriage to a man, but in the weeks leading up to her wedding the suppressed love and desire of these former lovers are unleashed forcing both Nisha and Lucky to reevaluate their choices and how they want to live their lives. Is it better to follow your heart and be shunned from your family and community or should you live a lie to be accepted? Marriage of a Thousand Lies brings us on a journey of struggles and pressures, as Nisha and Lucky make their decisions on how to live and where to find acceptance.

One month ago, on the 20th anniversary of Ellen Degeneres coming out as gay on national TV to 42 million viewers, I reflected on how far we have come in the United States when it comes to acceptance and treating all people equally. Yes, we have progressed in 20 years, but there are still many individuals and groups that preclude some from being considered equal and treated fairly. It is part of the human struggle to protect and honor the past while we grow and accept change and celebrate difference moving forward. Little by little we are finding the balance, one family and one community at a time, as brave individuals choose to live authentically and gain support from their inner circle. I enjoyed this well-written novel as it touched on the personal struggles of each character, with the added bonus of Sri Lankan traditions and customs.