The Herath family moves to Sal Mal Lane, a quiet, diverse, kid-friendly street. Sri Lanka is calm yet, but not for long. On Sal Mal Lane examines the tensions as the island descends into civil war. The racial, economic, and political reasons behind the conflict are seen mainly through the Herath’s four intelligent children – Suren, Rashmi, Nihil, and Devi – making a weighty topic an accessible read. We watch the Heraths for five years until Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, erupts into violence which Ru Freemantle handles with a graceful melancholy. If you like leisurely-paced, literary, political reads (like The Orphan Master’s Son or The Kite Runner), you’ll probably enjoy On Sal Mal Lane.