Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Shankari Chandran

RediksiaFriday, 2 February 2024 | 10:18 GMT+0000
Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Shankari Chandran
Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Shankari Chandran

DIKSIA.COM - If you are looking for a novel that will take you on a journey across time, culture and , then you might want to check out by . This is a book that explores the lives of a diverse group of elderly Australians who share a common bond: they are all survivors of and oppression in their home countries. In this article, we will review this novel and tell you why it is worth reading.


is the third novel by , an Australian author of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. It was published by Ultimo Press in 2022 and won the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2023. The novel is set in both modern-day western Sydney and the Sri Lankan civil war, and tells the story of Maya and Zakhir, a couple who fled the violence and persecution in their homeland and established a nursing home for culturally diverse seniors.

The novel also follows their daughter Anjali, who runs the nursing home and faces a political attack from a local councillor who accuses them of racism and anti-colonialism. The novel is a complex and compelling portrait of a multicultural community that is challenged by the forces of intolerance and ignorance.

Novel Details

  • Title: Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens
  • Author: Shankari Chandran
  • Genres: , Contemporary, , Historical , Literary Fiction
  • Chapters: 24
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Ultimo Press
  • Rating: 4.24 out of 5 stars on Goodreads


The novel begins with a flashback to the 1980s, when Maya and Zakhir, two Tamil academics, escape from after being tortured and threatened by the Sinhalese government. They arrive in as refugees and buy a rundown nursing home in Westgrove, a suburb of Sydney. They rename it Cinnamon Gardens, after a district in Colombo, and transform it into a sanctuary for elderly migrants from different backgrounds and cultures. They also have a daughter, Anjali, who grows up in the nursing home and becomes a successful lawyer and writer.