Hernando Villa & Turmoil at the Villa: Book Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I’m Ready To Move to Hernando Villa!
By D.A. Wintsmith on May 29, 2016
I came to HERNANDO VILLA with no knowledge of Sri Lanka, Tamils, Sinhalese, or anything about their culture and history. I also came with an embarrassing tendency to confuse the name Sri Lanka with Shangri-La. So you can see the level of my complete ignorance. Still, HERNANDO VILLA was easily accessible to me as a reader.
The charming contemporary couple who own the Villa and their best friends seemed familiar to me, and I realized that I knew their counterparts here in the USA. There was a theme of family and couples humor throughout, set against the terrifying backdrop of recent racial violence, terrorist, and nature at her worst. The tendency in western literature is to write about dysfunctional families, and the Hernandos have their share of drama with secrets and meddling aunts and star-crossed lovers, but they go about it with class and style, and most importantly with concern for the human element of situations, which I have witnessed in everyday life but rarely see captured in books.
This is the kind of book one can go back to and live in for a while. The people are that pleasant, and yet not in the least dull. Well, not everyone is pleasant — there is Aunt Margie who wants to rule the family but she gets her due, really more than her due finally. And there are the awful prospective husbands that the matchmaker keeps presenting to the families with eligible daughters. There is the racial bias that even families who are friends with people of different races and castes must deal with. And there is courage and heroism and tragedy. In short, it is life, captured in an easy read that makes you ponder without pontificating.
Top Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars So Glad The Story Goes On
By D.A. Wintsmith on June 17, 2016
After reading Hernando Villa, I didn’t want it to end, so I was delighted to rejoin the Hernando family in Turmoil at the Villa. I would suggest that readers should read Hernando Villa first, since this is its sequel, and it places it in better context to be already acquainted with the characters and the family history. As with Hernando Villa, I enjoyed Turmoil at the Villa very much but was saddened by the result of politics coming too close to the villa. I will not say what that result was, but it is a major change for the family I as a reader came to care about. The characters are likeable and “real” so that even though I knew nothing of Sri Lanka and the culture, it is easy to know them and to understand them because they are so entirely human, which is universal. I hope there is a book three!
Hernando Villa: Review by Ruwini Jayawardena
The unusual tone of a family saga spanning multiple generations is later intertwined into a series of incidents in Terrence Perera’s ‘Hernando Villa’. The book sheds light on a typical Sri Lankan upper class family with a unique history.
It makes slight references to the strange and wondrous manner in which the family made its fortune in the beginning chapter and later devotes a section to elaborate the amusing tale of how the Gate Mudliyar managed to become acquainted with Prince Henry.
This incident carved the family’s destiny for it was through misunderstandings and misinterpretations that the man who was the gatekeeper at the governor’s residence became a leading figure in local soil.
This incident raises a smile in the reader for it is ironic that so much of importance is attached to the person who vies to serve the colonial masters of the era.
This ‘white man worshipping’ nature is found throughout the incidents linked with the history of the family but when it comes to serious matters like marriage, matrimony with a foreigner is a taboo topic.
This is why we see that a romantic liaison between the Gate Mudliyar’s son, William, and the Earl’s daughter, Jane, creates a pandemonium. William’s mother threatens to commit suicide and William finds himself being forced to acquaint with a Sinhala girl whom he later marries.
History nearly repeats itself with slight alterations to certain details in the present context. This time it is Reshan and Malkanthi’s son, Nihal, who falls in love with a Tamil girl – his parents’ friends, the Rajanathans’ daughter, Padma. However unlike in history the couple succeeds in convincing their parents and ties the knot.
This portrays how the society has evolved and the perceptions of the elders and younger generations have changed throughout the years and forebode what the society holds for the future.
The central theme of the novel then seems to be ethnic relationships. We get bonds between foreigners and Sinhalese, Tamils and Sinhalese and Christians and Hindus.
They seem to get on well in their day to day life but as soon as certain barriers have been lifted or in delicate matters the embers of suspicion catches fire and rises to the top.
The book seems to comprise several short stories for each chapter seems to be a story of its own. You get 21 chapters and each chapter along encompasses an incident which can be taken individually as well as linked with the main story.
It is much like a jig saw puzzle put together to form the whole picture.
The story is written in simple sentences so that it is ideal for light reading. Yet the satire behind the tone describing the incidents sheds light on serious themes.
Many of the cultural and traditional practices endemic to Sri Lanka are brought to the fore with descriptive details so that event those who are not familiar with the customs will have no trouble grasping what is taking place.
The political change that the country has undergone too is projected in the background.
‘Hernando Villa’ is a book for readers from all walks of life as you will be able to identify a part of yourself or those around you with the ideologies or outlook of the characters, though they have not been etched from any particular real life character.
– Ruwini Jayawardana