I love the rating system on goodreads. It's simple and straightforward; it tells you exactly what I thought of the book in a useful way, the measure of how much I liked the book. Bandula Chandraratna most surely knows how to write. His style is plain and arid and empathetic and compelling. There are several moments in the book where non-central characters are so fully drawn you expect the story to become theirs. The opening scenes, as you slowly, slowly realise what Nimal and David are doing, where they are going, are implacably distressing. Both the write up here on goodreads and the back jacket of the book are misleading: this is not Leila's story or her mother Latifa's story. It is Sayeed's story.