For Grace de Silva, a beautiful Ceylonese planter’s daughter, Sept. 1, 1939, wasn’t just the day the war in Europe became official. It was also the day she learned her drunken husband had lost their ancestral tea estates in a poker game. Though forced to leave their stately home in the hills for a more modest mansion in Colombo, the de Silva’s, a Tamil family, continue to live a pretty well-heeled life. But the trials keep on coming. Independence is followed by civil war, which exacts a price from each of Grace’s five children, four of whom eventually flee to England, where the story of the de Silva’s winds its way down through the generations. By 1966, Grace’s granddaughter, Anna-Meeka, has become like any other British teenager, roaming London with her friends, shrugging off her parent’s feelings of dislocation. “Sri Lanka was nothing to do with her,” Anna-Meeka tells herself. “It belonged to some other life.” Tearne, an artist and writer who was herself born in Sri Lanka and moved to Britain at the age of 10, gives the Tamil diaspora a recognizable face in this plainly told yet engaging tale.