Luloff, a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka in the 1990s, has written an engaging and thought-provoking collection of interconnected stories which shed a very personal light on the civil war in that country. By means of her vibrant characters, the author conveys a real sense of the fragile state in which Sri Lanka existed during the nearly 25 years in which the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils fought for control of the government. One story focuses on Janaki, whose sister travels from a refugee camp in the north, where most of the fighting took place, to live with her and her husband, a Tamil sympathizer now missing. Sam, an English teacher with the Peace Corps, falls in love with one of his students from the north — which comes to affect his own safety. Lucy, another Peace Corps volunteer leaves the south and joins a UN group administering to refugees in Jaffna, many of whom have lost family members to the war. Woven together, these stories reveal the realities behind the headlines, and provide a gripping read.