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Christopher Ondaatji
   

Living in Sri Lanka

This is a hypnotising book featuring many of the people and houses I know intimately.  The illustrations and commentary has openly explored the dreams behind innovative people who have searched for and found a new haven in an old tropical frontier.  Sadly the book does not include such masterpieces as the Ena de Silva house in Colombo; Lunuganga - Geoffrey Bawa’s expansive personal retreat outside Bentola, the Government Agent’s bungalow in Hambantota where Leonard Woolf stayed at the end of his 1904 - 1911 stint as a civil servant in Ceylon, or understandably any of the magnificent Jaffna or west coast Negombo colonial houses - mostly still in a state of disrepair.  Nor does it include any of the majestic Sinhala mansions, some restored, dotted along the Galle Road on the south coast with their intricately carved lattice-work awnings.  Far from being a guide to living, this book is much more an enticing handbook for those looking for a hidden paradise.

 
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