Book Reviews

Archive: Review - When All the Lights Are Stripped Away, by Sunil Nair

Web-Exclusive from Asia Literary Review No. 24, Summer 2012: Identity

Review by Kelly Falconer

When All the Lights Are Stripped Away

 by Sunil Nair


SET IN MALAYSIA, When All the Lights Are Stripped Away is the engaging story of a young man’s coming of age, his search for his sense of identity and his acceptance of how the past pulls on the present. Divided between his loyalty to the memory of his mother, a painter, and his animosity towards his father, a powerful, influential businessman, Anil drops out of high school and flees his small hometown to Kuala Lumpur soon after his mother’s sudden, accidental death. 


He begins to create a new life for himself by concealing his identity, renting a small flat and making new friends. He finds work painting film posters, and then as a cartoon artist for a political magazine, whose editor completes Anil’s education by assigning him books to read from his own vast and eclectic library. He falls in love with a journalist, and they move in together. But as time passes Anil realizes that his father’s reach infiltrates many levels of society, and learns that he has never been out of his father’s sight. To his dismay, even the flat he rented may have been subsidized by his father’s largesse. 


Three years after he left home, when his girlfriend is pregnant and his life seems to be moving forward, Anil receives a letter from his mother’s former maid (now his father’s lover) explaining that his father is dying, and asking for him to come home. What happens next will change Anil’s understanding of himself, of his mother and father, and of the future he thought he had mapped out for himself.


When All the Lights Are Stripped Away is published by Marshall Cavendish (2012)


Read more at Sunil-Nair.Com


Buy the Book

Amazon      Paddyfield


More Book Reviews

Please Register or Login

Register now for full access to News and Events, Web Exclusives, Blogs and Comments.

If you've already registered, please login.