Bone China by Roma Tearne

Bone China

Roma Tearne

A lyrical and haunting tale of 3 generations fragmented by civil strife and the shock of migration. The genteel Grace De Silva faces upheaval as Ceylon is torn apart by independence and her children are compelled to seek a new life in austere England. Lost loves, secret sorrows and the search for cultural identity make up the sights and sounds of this novel. It’s a feast for the senses playing on the reader's emotions like a beautiful concerto.

Carefully, so as not to break it, she took out the special china. There was a lot to choose from. The cupboard gleamed with the most beautiful things: pink and white plates covered in rosebuds, blue-and-white dishes, small bowls, jugs and teapots. But it was at the back of the cupboard that she found the real treasures. At the back, tucked away behind the Whitefriars crystal glass, were small neat stacks of the oldest pieces. There were tureens with worn patterns, cups and saucers, a whole dinner service with delicate figures, dense foliage, ivy, ferns, passion flowers. Meeka picked out her especial favourites. Side plates, sugar bowls for the jelly that she was about to make, serving dishes for the curries, a tureen for the rice. She spread them around on the floor, vague memories like the music that lived constantly in her head, rose up to greet her. Here was a dish that her granny used to serve bolo de coco on; here was another that always had pente frito in them whenever she visited her grandparents in their beautiful house in Station Road. For a moment she longed to taste some vadi or thosai. To smell again the rose water and cinnamon in Auntie Frieda's kitchen. Her aunt always had something sweet for her to eat whenever she visited and whenever she hugged Meeka she always smelt of rulang and cochineal. Meeka had loved visiting them, her grandparents and her aunt, in their house by the sea. In the excitement of being in England she had forgotten how much she loved the island.
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