“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
“Plastic Emotions renders the life of Minnette de Silva with the elegance of one of her own constructions. Navigating mass and void, light and shadow, the intersecting power dynamics she encountered as an Asian woman architect pushing for modernity, and a fledgling who fell for Le Corbusier. Pinto’s writing is wise and evocative, unearthing a story so long shamefully neglected.”
– Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy
“An elegant, elegiac book; its most piercing moments come in Pinto's dissection of the unequal love affair between a superlatively talented woman and a monstrous male ‘genius’. It is 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
“Shiromi Pinto has shone a timely light on a talented, progressive architect too long neglected and produced an imaginative novel. 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 Minette de Silva’s life and work. Perceptive and inspiring.”
– Niven Govinden, author of This Brutal House
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
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 opendemocracy.net. Born in London and raised in Montreal, she works full-time at Amnesty International in London.
Paperback ISBN: 9781910312315
Ebook ISBN: 9781910312322
Publication date: July 2019
Formats: Paperback / eBook