ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R. E. Siliente
Originally from Sri Lanka, is currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with her husband. She is the mother of one and has had a prestigious career in chemistry.
Who Stole Mother’s Soul? is her debut memoir.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Who Stole Mother's Soul?
Uprooting your life is hard, especially when turmoil surrounds you. When your choices are not your own, and your family fails to protect you, you are alone with only your thoughts to guide you.
Upon hearing of her mother's passing, while living in Canada, R.E. Siliente is flooded by memories from her life in Sri Lanka. Focusing on the turbulent relationship with her mother, but remembering the loving guidance of her endearing father, Siliente delves into her story of emotional abuse, perseverance, and love.
With an unexpected inheritance, Siliente begins to view her childhood from a new and often brutal perspective, becoming shocked and confused by its revelations. Compelled to examine the events of her life before immigrating to Canada, Siliente expresses her joys and dismays before being forcefully placed into a situation that would haunt her forever.
Who Stole Mother’s Soul is a heartbreaking and triumphant story of one woman’s journey as she navigates her life in her motherland, Sri Lanka, and in Canada while finding herself and, eventually, finding a way to forgive her mother.
28th January, 2023:
Thanks @Erika Ushliyanage and @canadian-women-of-colour-leadership-network for having me as your first Speaker Series guest of 2023! I had a great time talking to Erika about my experience as an immigrant woman, my published fictional memoir, "Who Stole Mother’s Soul". https://lnkd.in/g4j8gqeM and the upcoming new book. I hope our discussion titled "From Scientist to an Author", would help the listeners in their life journey to reach their goals and realize their dreams. The recording of this discussion will be posted on YouTube in the coming days.
17 August 2022: This book was reviewed and qualified by the Writer's Union of Canada to offer their membership to the author.
25 September 2022: The launch of Who Stole Mother’s Soul? (@AuthorSiliente) in Ottawa at Dhruvees restaurant was successful. The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Canada (@SLinOttawa), the deputy high commissioner, the venerable chief Buddhist monk of the local temple and seventy other individuals graced the occasion. A reading by the author, delicious finger-food and aromatic Sri Lankan tea delighted the attendees. The author appreciated the generosity of the participants, beautiful flowers and special gifts.
May 2022: An invited speaker to celebrate Asian Heritage Month, organized by the Visible Minority Network of Health Canada
What readers and reviewers are saying...
"We walk with the author through the tragedies and triumphs imposed by life and inter-generational trauma. Her opening promise that she would re-evaluate her life through the eyes of her mother to “clarify a million little misunderstandings” is intriguing. The journey that the author shares will help others to have the courage to dig deep into their own stories to discover the roots of pain and the potential for healing buried with those roots. The reader will be inspired to rise with the courage and dignity the author has embodied.
– Susan Prosser, R.N., B.Sc.N, M.A., Registered Psychotherapist, Ottawa Canada
Author of Growing Home - A Lifetime Process of Self Awareness and Transformation
"An excellent, vivid and multi-layered memoir of family strife and redemption; the convincing and intriguing journey begins in discord in Sri Lanka and ends in triumph in Canada."
- J.R. Keenan, Florida, USA
Author of Phantom Fire
"This book is a very easy and interesting read. It is a successful book and a great addition to the genre of quasi-fictional biography within a multicultural mosaic. I am proud to say that the author has proved herself to be an excellent writer."
- Chandre Dharma-wardana, Rockcliffe Park, Canada
Author of "A Physicist's view of Matter and Mind" (World Scientific), Le problèm à N-Corps (Université Paris-Villetaneuse), and other books.
"This is a heartbreaking and triumphant story of one woman’s journey as she navigates her life in her motherland, Sri Lanka, and in Canada while finding herself and, eventually, finding a way to forgive her mother. The narrator’s life tale is endearing, yet full of hardships, but she has a calm and peaceful narrative voice, as though she has invited her readers over for tea, while she divulges the secrets of her life. She creates an intimate connection to her audience, so they can almost feel the pain she has endured throughout her youth and adulthood. It was a joy to read Who Stole Mother’s Soul.
– Friesen Press Editor
“Five years ago I met the author as an attendee who submitted the early chapters of her potential memoir, during my evening workshop at Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa. Since my first readings of her writing, in every way, my assessment of the author as a person and a writer have not changed. She could not be more deserving of the highest praise.
The compelling and brutally honest opening paragraph of Chapter 1 reveals a daughter's seriousness of purpose and sets in motion a gripping page-turner of a book that, unbelievably, is ultimately uplifting.
Once I started reading this subtle, brave, bittersweet memoir, I could not put it down. In many ways, it reads like a beautifully written, quietly powerful mystery novel - a quest to find a lost mother and lost self. The prose is elegant and full of grace, warmth and wisdom. The strength of this memoir is how the voice of the author has communicated the inner truths and larger meanings; she has nailed this.
I eagerly immersed myself in the voice, head, heart and soul of the narrator, whose difficult inner and outer journeys seamlessly take the reader back and forth in time from Sri Lanka to Canada. This heart-felt heart-breaking story articulates the complicated dynamics between a daughter and her mother, father, brother, husband, a son and a beloved grandmother. It is also a harrowing story of experiences that an immigrant has to endure, where such a journey would test families, who must dig deep to find strength, love and hope.
This author has followed the acclaimed American writer Mary Karr’s direction on memoir writing well, and the reader will find all of this and much more in Who Stole Mother's Soul? It is poignant story full of surprises to the end.”
-Richard Taylor, Gatineau, PQ, Canada.
A retired Carleton University English teacher and the author of a novel, a book of short stories, and a travel memoir titled House inside the Waves - Domesticity, Art and the Surfing Life.
An unusual memoir about swimming around the world with writers is in the works for publication.
"The author's ability to pack almost every single page with sadness, laughter, despair and hope is remarkable and as one progresses through each chapter, emotions can oscillate between absolute joy to downright horror. A vivid memoir and a well written brilliant exposé of how humans can triumph over adversity by simply unlearning to assume and learning to forgive. A word of caution: This book is addictive !"
Shahan Dahanayaka, Software Engineer, Kanata, Canada
"This is a very good read and an important story of a determined and brave girl who found a way to overcome the obstacles and found peace by forgiving her mother."
- Indrani Perera, Sydney, Australia
"This book is well written and the story is captivating. The author has the ability to make the reader feel that the story is real and believable, although it has been published as a fictional memoir. I enjoyed reading it very much, while at times I felt very sad and puzzled. Keep writing and share the stories with the world."
- Shiroma Ratnayake, Ottawa, Canada
"This is a well written book. Reading it encouraged me to read more books; this book has made me an avid reader.
The author's life story would help others who had gone through similar difficulties in their lives to understand their relationships and be comforted to know that they are not alone.
I recommend this book to any one who wish to know not only the author's life but also the country from where she had migrated from and its culture."
- Patricia Rutledge, Orleans Canada
"I've really enjoyed reading this book; very well done. You have experienced many challenges and traumas; unfortunately, I see very clearly your mother also had experienced many devastating events. While I'm not supporting her behavior or her response to your life, I felt as if I could understand her reactions towards you in life too."
- Lynda P, Ottawa, Canada
"Do not miss a great opportunity; this is a great book to read. The author has created vivid pictures using words to make the reader feel the struggles the main character had experienced. The details on page 197 of the book helped my friend to understand her mom better and will help her deal with her mother into the future. She was struggling and felt depressed about her relationship with her mom. Thank you for your memoir that could help my friend understand the situation and find a way forward.
The book has also given the reader an opportunity to witness the beautiful scenes of Sri Lanka; the descriptions are vivid; it felt as if I was there.
The Author's life is exemplary for all immigrants to learn from her experiences and her eventual success, and her beliefs. Thank you author, for sharing your story with people and the content certainly will have a positive impact on people's lives. Not many people have the capability to write such a detailed story; you do. You are the best of the best; you can inspire people, can do bigger things for the world; happy to have had the opportunity to read your story"
- Xiong, Li Jun, Toronto, Canada
"This book is well written; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It will make you think about your childhood and compare notes with the author's amazing experiences."
- Lynne Paquette, Orleans, Canada
"This is a story that captures our hearts. This author, like everyone else. has a back story, but hers come with a big heartache, along with many large grey clouds obscuring the search for some sunshine.
The author lets us see and feel her backstory, including joys, challenges, pain and accomplishments endured while growing up in Sri Lanka. This story demonstrates how another's backstory could affect one's own; how elements such as the power and influence of parents and family, the pressure of community and cultural expectations can deeply impact an individual's struggle to find self understanding and the strength and drive to truly create and develop one's individual path. All of this, while trying to manage negativity and confusion we carry inside can become very difficult.
Reading about the author's journey helps us see our own relationships and struggles little more clearly and to keep them in some kind of perspective. I very much admire the resilience and the strength of Siliente.
Welcome to Canada Siliente, proud to have you as a fellow citizen. Thank you for such a great read, and, may I say, lesson in striving for one's best life possible."
- Dave and Paula Dorsey, Orleans, Canada
- Priyantha Wijeweera, Barrhaven, Canada
"Excellent read. Knowing the author, I was apprehensive to read this book, but was pleasantly surprised. It is very well written and flows quite well. The author's story proves what people can survive and overcome when they believe in themselves. Now, I have a greater appreciation for the author and what she has gone through growing up, and I have a greater love for my own mother and the family life I have. I totally recommend this book"
- Jacqueline Whissell, Orleans, Canada
"Well done. The author has detailed 'Little England' beautifully, making me reminisce my life in Nuwara Eliya as a young girl. Thank you for taking time to write this book"
- Mrs. Charlotte Gardiyahewa, Nawala, Colombo, Sri Lanka
"Reading this book was delightful. Although it has been published as a “fictional memoir”, it was hard for me to distinguish fiction from the truth, as the author has effectively blended the two parts in this story seamlessly. The author successfully takes you with her on her incredible journey in life, where she had overcome obstacles, felt joy, sadness, and she details on how she had built resilience that was necessary for a child who had been deprived of the most basic psychological needs to become a successful adult.
The writer also takes you to her homeland and makes you feel as if you are a native of Sri Lanka.
As an immigrant myself, I very well could relate my life story to hers, where I had faced systemic discrimination. In that context, the author made me reminisce on the past making me feel yet again what it has taken me to emerge from darkness."
Samar Sarkesh, Ottawa, Government of Canada, RN, CCHN(c), PHN
"Who Stole Mother’s Soul is an enthralling read. With compelling characters and beautiful scenic descriptions, the reader feels present on the emotional journey. It keeps you guessing from start to finish."
- Sonia Myers, Ottawa, Canada
“This book is beautifully written and it is filled with many entertaining points. The author takes us on a visual trip when describing her beautiful country. Her description of the mountains, waterfalls, fruit trees and aromas, made me feel like I was in Paradise.
Even although her family was one of affluence, there was much sadness and disconnect. While the reader will have some empathy for the Mother, her lack of love to her family is unforgettable.
The author was so fortunate to have unconditional love from her Father and his encouragement.
Eventually, her perseverance has given her a life filled with contentment and forgiveness. May she enjoy the fruits of all her hard work.
This book is a joy to read and very inspirational; it is a page-turner and the reader would find surprises from the start to the end. Thank you for providing the opportunity to read this book.”
- Ruby Dillabough, Orleans, Canada
"A very well written memoir. The author not only narrates her complicated life with her mother but also has given the readers a wonderful description of various parts of beautiful Sri Lanka. This is a book that grabs continuous interest which anybody can enjoy. I wish many readers would get the opportunity to read this fantastic book"
- Winifred Wadasinghe-Wijay, Nepean, Canada
This book touched me on a very personal level as I had parallel experiences with the author. The book is riveting at times, because of the authors willingness to share her very honest, raw emotion and personal experiences. These are the only kinds of books I like to read, as life is stranger than fiction and much more interesting. I would recommend this book."
As seen on Barns &Nobel website with (five******)
- Brenda MacFarlane, Orleans, Canada
"Who Stole Mother's Soul had me riveted from the beginning to the shocking end. I felt invested in the story of a girl becoming a woman, looking to be seen and loved. Every chapter ended with a thrilling hook and I couldn't put it down.
The story sends you on a descriptive and poignant journey through beautiful Sri Lanka, and it details all the struggles and expectations that come from a culture that was deeply rooted in tradition and history. The author explains well how an immigrant comes to Canada with hopes and dreams, but meets with the unpleasant realities of being so far away from family and support. Exceptionally well written and an addictive read, I know you will love it as much as I did."
- Ericka Ushliyanage, Entrepreneur, Ottawa, Canada
"This is a well written & easy to read memoir. The author depicts beautifully her father's love for her & how the mother - daughter relationship affected her life. However, she has found strength to build a meaningful life as an adult in Canada.
The author's literary skills in expressing any situation brings the reader to experience each of her life episodes realistically. Each chapter ends in such a way that the reader is enticed to start the next with curiosity & interest."
- Hemantha and Nissanka Pussegoda, Kanata, Canada
"Your words paint a vivid and hauntingly graphic depiction of your younger self. Although this book is outside my normal genre, I found myself compelled to read on and find out how the story ended. Congratulations on creating a well-crafted and engaging fictional memoir!!"
- Russell Fisher, CFP,CIM,FCSI,RRC, Financial Advisor
Gentry Capital, Manulife Securities Incorporated
"The author's writing took me to another world, another culture, into her life and the lives of her family. I enjoyed getting so transferred by someone’s writing.
The description of how the narrator and Richard fell in love is most enchanting! I’ve read about the unfolding of many romances, but this one stands out above all.
Indeed, the story is essentially a tragedy and I became more and more engrossed in it as I read on; this book is a reminder that fact is often stranger than fiction.
It was fascinating how the narrator survived it all, proving that she is indeed resilient. Bravo!"
- Louis Nel (Ph. D) , Retired Professor of Mathematics
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
"I admire your courage taken to write this fictional memoir. I specially liked the “ forgiving “ part at the end. That goes well with the Buddhist practice"
- Ranjani Siriwardhana,
Scientific Researcher, Maryland, USA
"Through her captivating writing style, the author enlightens the reader on the power of the human mind. The story unfolds through skillfully crafted chapters, and the author conceals the mystery behind the Mother's cruel behavior towards her only daughter until the very end. The victory of the protagonist is her ability to end this vicious family legacy by creating a blessed life for her and her family. Who Stole Mother's Soul is a testimonial to a profound universal truth – How one can benefit from the miraculous powers of the human mind by cherishing its bright side through nurturing courage, determination, compassion, and forgiveness. This book made me wiser – Thank you."
-Rishanthi Pattiarachchi, Ottawa, Canada
"‘The author unflinchingly explores and unfolds layers of life stories of unprotected innocents in several generations. Who Stole Mother’s Soul is an extraordinary fictional memoir at its best."
- Don Susil Premarathne, Nepean, Canada
"R.E. Siliente weaves a story that transports the reader to a beautiful, distant place and time. The author masterfully paints the beautiful landscape of Sri Lanka and its people with words, making the images of the land and the people to appear both as foreign and as familiar at the same time. Who stole Mother’s Soul? is a story of a young girl who led a difficult life with her mother, and how she eventually found a path to forgive her. This book stands out from its contemporaries. It is a ‘must read’."
- Corazon Geyer, Nepean, Canada
"Congratulations to the author on her debut memoir! This is a wonderfully written book; you would not feel like putting it down until the end! It is a genuinely enriching story that can give guidance to others who had faced hurdles and situations that the narrator had. My wish is that the author would receive due recognition and many accolades for this work."
- Nirmala Gunapala Ph.D., MLIS
Former Associate Professor & Science Librarian, New Mexico State University, NM, USA
“Congratulations on your book. I can appreciate that this was quite the project. I truly enjoyed reading about your life in Sri Lanka and all the insight as to what is involved in migrating to a new country. Wow! I have always had a lot of respect for immigrants, but now it has been elevated even more. What you have gone through to reach your goals with all the family obstacles is mindboggling. Very, very sad about your mother, and it BROKE my heart to read about your infant son. I just cannot imagine.”
- Nicole Seguin CAE
Former Executive Director of an international professional association
"Writing a book is no small accomplishment, so much more when that book exposes closely guarded, long held and traumatic family secrets. This is a deeply personal story of a woman, in her roles as daughter, wife, daughter-in-law and mother, the grief and heartbreak she endures, and her efforts to heal and recover. Congratulations on your achievement!"
- Sandhya Singh
“This is an exceptionally well written memoir bringing surprises to the reader from one chapter to the next. It is an inspirational quasi-fictional story based on the author’s journey with numerous hardships through her life, particularly as a girl, woman and a mother and eventually leading to a successful life with forgiveness. Congratulations on the excellent job and best wishes for future endeavors as a writer!”
- Nimal De Silva PhD;
Professor/Scientist, University of Ottawa, Canada
“The beginning and end of the Who Stole Mother's Soul? is interesting and makes the reader look forward to the next chapter. Also, the story is well linked revealing the mystery of the title right at the end. The hint of the mystery prevails right through. The predominant theme that is present in each chapter is the author’s relationships with each of her parents, mainly her father’s constant support and mothers’ ongoing abusive behavior which does not end even after her death. She develops remarkable strengths and resilience in each of her life’s milestones. Strong intergenerational issues, cultural and traditions that are perpetuated and not necessarily wholesome are brought to light in an open and honest way. Value of education is highlighted. Beauty of the country is picturesque. Motherhood, Immigration, integration to another country, parent child bonding is described well. Very interesting afterthought, leaving the reader with a few future possibilities to the story.”
- Jagath Ekanayake BSc Eng, PhD, CMEngNZ, MASCE
Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, New Zealand
“Who stole mother’s soul? is an absorbing story. It drives the reader through mystery, originality and sorrow to tell a lifelong story of emotions, hardships and victories. Reader will encounter minute personal secrets and unique experiences of the writer, through early childhood, during teenage years, youth hood and Motherhood that one could relate and compare with one’s own life.
There is an abundance of rare and valuable experiences and knowledge useful for young women, especially those in education, early employment and motherhood, which certainly would enrich their lives in many aspects and add tremendous value for their future. This book would also be a source of value to those aspiring to migrate from their motherland.”
Retired IT Manager GSK Sri Lanka; EPR and IT Management Consultant
"This book is an amazing read! With language that brings the reader into the setting – The mental imagery you have provided enables the reader to momentarily transport to the places you describe. It was heartbreaking to read about the harms caused to you and your family. But it was also elating to hear about your successes and elevations to new awareness of life in and around you. You perfectly balanced the darkness against the light in your sharing. When I finished the last pages in your book, I could not hold back the words “That’s why. I thought it might be something like that”. A key teaching that resonated with me is: that we don’t really know what drives a person to do good or bad, so we should be kind in the face of all that affects us. That is most encouraging. Also, you have reinforced the link between forgiveness and a person’s spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health."
- Christine Anne Smith
BA, BSc, MES, Policy & Program Analyst, Health Canada
"Thank you so much for such a unique book which is neither fiction nor memoir but both. The end product is a richly crafted new genre of a literary offering. A real page turner. Excellent work. Look forward to reading the next one."
- Dr. Sange De Silva
Retired Director General, Statistics Canada, Ottawa
“This book was a fascinating read in many different ways. I barely knew where Sri Lanka was on the world map; however, after reading the first few chapters I felt like I was there! The author’s descriptions on the area that she grew up was captivating; I felt like I was seeing it myself.
From the first chapter, her story riveted me, and I literally read the book in 2 days!
While reading the author’s life story, much like the writer, I also went through so many emotions: Joy, sadness, frustration, disappointment, perseverance, love, and many more.
Having not so perfect relationships in my own past, I could relate and empathize with her and her family (I’m sure most women can).
In the end, it was so comforting to know that “if she can make it, so can I!”
I had the great pleasure of meeting this wonderful author and her husband recently, both beautiful people with caring and kind-hearted souls! I look forward to reading any future books she writes!”
- Rebecca Weyandt
Physical Therapist Assistant
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
"The Author's emotional rollercoaster journey of life has been clearly expressed in the book. Amazingly she had the will-power to handle the difficult situations very well and reach her goal in life without experiencing any bouts of depression. The 'Story' has been well written and keeps the reader in suspense to the very end."
- Rohan Basnayake
Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
"A life of wounds and strengths revisited with passion and clarity; Forgiveness eventually came. A novel that many women could relate to. "
- Diana Becker
British Colombia, Canada