The Sweet And Simple Kind

A Poetic Account of a Nation’s Trouble Awakening

Yasmine Gooneratne

‘Loyalty (and the damnable lack of it in his wife) was the thought uppermost in the mind of Sir Andrew Millbanke as he looked down at Lady Alexandra’s dead body, spread-eagled on the paved pathway of the Residency.’

And so begins an engrossing and dramatic family drama, set against the backdrop of Ceylon’s bumpy evolution into Sri Lanka, as the Wijesinha clan struggle to balance their staunch political ambition against the ignominy of an embarrassing family scandal. And when two young family members, cousins Tsunami and Latha, meet and become firm friends no one can guess that their triumphant friendship will be played out over the passing years against both the best and the worst the newly independent Sri Lanka can offer as these two smart and Westernised young women pursue their own personal freedoms.

First published by Abacus / Little, Brown (Hachette, UK) in 2009.


  • Shortlisted for the 2007 Commonwealth Writers Prize
  • Nominated for the 2008 Dublin International IMPAC literary award


‘There is much to commend in the author’s refusal to pander to commercialism and in her obvious integrity. As one of her characters comments: Jane Austen’s observation of society was part critical, part amused. That quality is evident here’
Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times

‘Sensitively observed…at once a bold novel of national consciousness and a tender tale of family and friendship’ – Sunday Business Post

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