Plastic Emotions
Shiromi Pinto

‘One of the gems of the season.’

‘It’s hard not to be swept away by it all.’

‘Plastic Emotions is an act of illumination: in its mission to recover the life of Sri Lankan architect Minnette de Silva, Shiromi Pinto has written a novel that is like a beam of light. It is also lyrical and revelatory, speaking to our times with a beautifully calibrated urgency.’
– Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others

Pinto’s writing is wise and evocative, unearthing a story so long shamefully neglected.’
– Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy

‘An elegant, elegiac book; a devastating deconstruction of power, told by a fine writer with an admirably cool eye.’
– Preti Taneja, Desmond Elliot winning author of We That Are Young


Plastic Emotions - Paperback
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Plastic Emotions by Shiromi Pinto

“We architects must be idealists. We construct not just individual buildings, but whole cities. We plan cities, and in doing so, change lives.”
Plastic Emotions is inspired by the life of Minnette de Silva – a forgotten feminist icon and one of the most important figures of twentieth century architecture. 

In a gripping and lyrical story, Shiromi Pinto paints a complex picture of de Silva, charting her affair with infamous Swiss modernist Le Corbusier and her efforts to build an independent Sri Lanka that slowly heads towards political and social turmoil.
Moving between London, Chandigarh, Colombo, Paris, and Kandy, Plastic Emotions explores the life of a young, trailblazing South Asian woman at a time of great turbulence across the globe.

‘An audacious writer who rises above the predictable.’
The Independent

Praise for Plastic Emotions

‘Pinto luxuriates in their imagined love affair, revelling in the anguish of their estrangement. It’s hard not to be swept away by it all.’

‘An absorbing story of love and art offering surprising glimpses of once-celebrated figures enjoying a second life in a deftly evoked cosmopolitan mid-century era.’
– Romesh Gunesekera, Booker Prize shortlisted author of Reef

‘A luminous and intricate novel that vividly resurrects a neglected architectural pioneer.’
– Will Wiles, author of Care of Wooden Floors, The Way Inn and Plume

‘In writing a novel of monuments and political and social turmoil, Pinto gives us the audacity of ambition and passion that marked Minnette de Silva’s life and work. Perceptive and inspiring.’
– Niven Govinden, author of This Brutal House

‘The most compelling feature of the novel is not only a focus on de Silva’s work but also the insights it provokes. Pinto lets us see that architecture can serve a higher purpose than the merely functional. What do a nation’s buildings say about its society?’
Asian Review of Books

'Plastic Emotions is a love story that takes us into the beating heart of a bygone world through architecture and the lovers who brought that world, and each other, to life. A slice of intimate history filled with intransigent love and light, it’s a story we all need to hear.'

‘Perfect summer reading, full of sultry tropical heat and drowsy meanders through the glare of the afternoon sun.’
Think About Reading

‘Precise and articulate… The honesty with which characters’ lives and thoughts are presented – their chafing against expectation and convention – makes this a worthwhile read.’
Never Imitate

‘An honest portrait of a fiercely intelligent, independent woman.’
Turnaround Blog

‘An atmospheric, involving and compelling story.’
Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

Further Reading

‘Minnette de Silva (1918-1998)’ by Shiromi Pinto
The Architectural Review

Extract from Plastic Emotions
TANK Magazine

‘An architect does more than design a space. She designs a way of living’: a Q&A with Shiromi Pinto
London Review Bookshop Blog

Plastic Emotions: An Interview with Shiromi Pinto
Suite 212

Plastic Emotions: Interview with Shiromi Pinto

Shiromi Pinto and the life of Minnette de Silva
Monocle on Design

About the Author

Shiromi Pinto's debut, Trussed, was published by Serpent’s Tail in 2006. She has written short stories for BBC Radio 4, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Born in London and raised in Montreal, she works full-time at Amnesty International in London. 

Shiromi Pinto author photo.jpg

Paperback ISBN: 9781910312315

Ebook ISBN: 9781910312322

Publication date: July 2019

Formats: Paperback / eBook

Plastic Emotions - Paperback
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