Lucky and her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan–American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her childhood home and unexpectedly reconnects with her former best friend and first lover, Nisha, who is preparing for her own arranged wedding with a man she’s never met.
As the connection between the two women is rekindled, Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? And after a decade’s worth of lying, can Lucky break free of her own circumstances and build a new life? Is she willing to walk away from all that she values about her parents and community to live in a new truth? As Lucky—an outsider no matter what choices she makes—is pushed to the breaking point, Marriage of a Thousand Lies offers a vivid exploration of a life lived at a complex intersection of race, sexuality, and nationality. The result is a profoundly American debut novel shot through with humor and loss, a story of love, family, and the truths that define us all.
“Let me tell you something about being brown like me: your story is already written for you. Your free will, your love, your failure, all of it scratched into the cosmos before you’re ever born. My mother calls it fate, the story written on your head by stars, by the gods, never by you.”
SJ Sindu, Marriage of a Thousand Lies
I have not read many LGBTQ novels and I’m trying to change this. And what better time than during Pride month? Marriage of a Thousand Lies was a fascinating and interesting book. It reveals how challenging “coming out” can be for some individuals and why. Kris and Lucky are married, gay and in a marriage of pure convenience. They both lead secretive lifestyles due to the strict traditions and beliefs held in their Sri Lankan and Indian culture. Unfortunately, in numerous cultures, gay individuals are often disowned and rejected by their loved ones. I can’t imagine my family disowning me simply because of my sexual preference. In Marriage of a Thousand Lies, my heart went out to Lucky, who was constantly between a rock and a hard place. Lucky wants her mother’s approval and unconditional love, but this proves to be a challenge and central theme in the book. I found myself rooting for Lucky and wishing she would lead the life she so desperately craves. Sindu weaved a beautiful story full of complex and realistic characters. She is a remarkable storyteller and I look forward to more of her thought-provoking stories.
I would like to thank Edelweiss and Soho for giving me an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.