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Rohini De Silva is a well-to-do, upper class Sinhalese of colonial Ceylon. An emotional and intellectual rebel, she struggles to come to terms with the old way of life embodied by her parents-whose fortunes, attitudes and way or life have been formed and supported by British colonial rule-at the same time as she yearns to reject it. When she marries the son of a prominent Tamil lawyer, her kinship structures come to mirror the growing tensions in Sri Lankan society. When Independence from British rule sets in motion a series of fractious events that unleash long pent-up, violent forces, the family fall victim to the catastrophic events culminating in the ethnic holocaust of 1983.