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New Release: Loyal Stalkers by Chhimi Tenduf-La

loyal stalkersPan Macmillan India will release Chhimi Tenduf-La’s Loyal Stalkers in May. 

Edgy yet tender, racy yet warm, these interlinked stories take us into the unfamiliar everyday of Sri Lankan living, where smugglers, waiters, single moms and cheaters cross paths as they attempt to negotiate a web of shock, subterfuge and irony. A collection of infinite brio and charm, this is Chhimi Tenduf-La at his inventive best.

In a private room sheltered from the Colombo riots, a seventeen-year-old girl gives birth to a hatechild. At a city gym, an introverted fitness instructor obsesses over his unattainable client. Inside an untended guest-house room, an adolescent cricket champ is caught unawares by his coach’s violent fury. By a rain-drenched gravesite, a special-needs teacher confides in a stranger.

About the Author:

Half-Tibetan, half-English, Chhimi Tenduf-La manages an international school in Sri Lanka, where he has lived, on and off, for thirty years. As father to two energetic children and husband to an implacable wife, Tenduf-La uses his only time to himself to write. His first two books, The Amazing Racist and Panther, were published in 2015 to wide acclaim.


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Book Review: Mission Overseas looks at 3 key foreign missions of the Indian Army

By Rezaul H Laskar

Military history is something that has been given short shrift in India for decades, though the last few years have seen several well-written books exploring various facets of India’s armed forces, from their role in politics to their involvement in the two world wars.

Army officer-turned-journalist Sushant Singh’s Mission Overseas works well because its confines itself to three missions by the Indian Army on foreign soil. In less than 200 pages, he packs in tremendous detail and explains why these missions were or weren’t a success and what they meant for India’s geo-political standing.

Many Indians would be aware of all three missions – Operation Cactus, the daring 1988 operation to thwart an attempt by mercenaries to oust President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Maldives; Operation Pawan, the disastrous intervention by the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka; and Operation Khukri, which was mounted to rescue more than 200 Indian peacekeepers besieged by rebels in Sierra Leone in 2000. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times

 

 

 

 


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Book Review: A soldier’s account of the Sri Lanka war

Title: Road to Nandikadal: True Story of Defeating Tamil Tigers; Author: Major General Kamal Gunaratne; Publisher: Not given; Distributed by: Vijitha Yapa Bookshop, Colombo; Pages: 741; Price: Rs 2,500 (SLR)

This is a dense yet gripping account by a decorated Sri Lankan military officer who was in the thick of it all in the long and bloody war that led to the decimation of the LTTE.

Major General Kamal Gunaratne is no ordinary soldier. An infantryman, he led the 53 Division – the most powerful Division in the Sri Lanka Army – that killed the LTTE founder leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in May 2009, bringing the curtains down on a conflict that at one time looked like it was destined to go on and on.

When the dead Prabhakaran was placed before him, “I closely inspected the body of this fiend lying at my feet like a dog, his eyes wide open. Dressed in the striped camouflage uniform of the LTTE, Prabharkaran had not shaven for a couple of days and a growth of greying stubble covered his face. On his forehead was a deep gash spreading up to his skull, but other than that, not a single scratch was seen on his body. The open eyes displayed shock and terror. Having died only about 30 minutes earlier, it was still bleeding from the wound and his ears.” Read more

Source: Business Standard


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Book Review: The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg

By Chandra Ganguly

calamities

How do you make sense of life when your friend dies? How do you make sense of life when thousands were washed away by waters in a tsunami or killed ruthlessly in a genocide? How do you make sense of lives lived in pain whether due to atrocities committed by other or genetic mutations that make every day living a study in pain and forbearance? Peter Trachtenberg’s The Book of Calamities examines the meaning of life through these occurrences while asking five questions, “Why me? How do I endure? What is just? What does my suffering say about me and about God? What do I owe those who suffer?”

The book is a compelling first hand account of not just the author’s own suffering due to substance abuse, the death of his friends and his parents but also a first hand account of other people’s pain as he travels to places of strife such as Rwanda and Sri Lanka, follows up with families who lost loved ones on September 11, and interviews those in grief, seeking an answer to his questions.

The beauty of the book lies in the author’s ardent and almost unflinching seeking. He intersperses his travels and experiences with philosophies and religious texts from the Bible and Buddhism mainly but those chapters and paragraphs are like supporting documents, almost theoretical in their references. It is his travels and walks through the trenches of human suffering that pulls the reader in. How many people do we know who have travelled to Rwanda after the genocide or Sri Lanka after the tsunami? How many brave the hostility of these climates to ask questions? Trachtenberg recounts his experiences in such places and interviews people such as the Daley twins who suffered from Epidermolysis Bullosa, a form of affliction that made living in your own skin literally almost possible. The author befriends the people he seeks out in his journey to find a meaning and makes his research into suffering an empathetic and intimate look into lives we read about and normally keep at a distance. By describing his own sufferings, Trachtenberg draws us further into his story and his own search for meaning — “. . . suicide suddenly appealed to me as something I could do . . . I used about fifty Fiorinal and a razor blade that I was too squeamish to do very much with.” ( p. 57)

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A Brave Debut Novel About the Sri Lankan Civil War

the-story-of-a-brief-marriage

The Story Of A Brief Marriage

By Anuk Arudpragasam
193 pp. Flatiron Books. $24.99.

War is a constant wellspring of literature, and the best of it looks not for the obvious and sensationally violent, but instead searches for the subtle ways that life unfolds regardless. While Sri Lankans writing in Sinhala and Tamil have long borne nuanced witness to the country’s three decades of civil war, writing in English has been much slower to respond. And too much of it has taken the easy route, giving a foreign readership what it desires: a voyeuristic, and ultimately unengaged, affirmation of what it believes is true of savage peoples in other countries. Read more


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Sri Lanka: When literature crosses one’s path

2014 Gratiaen shortlisted writer Vihanga Perera talks about his works and the opportunities for writers in Sri Lanka: The Nation

He loves to call himself a writer; someone who writes and rewrites, working with manuscripts all year round. “I have been experimenting with my writing within and between genres for over ten years now since first being published – being lucky and generally, enjoying my work,” Vihanga Perera, 2014 Gratiaen shortlisted writer, said in an interview with The Nation.  He is a poet, novelist, short story writer, publisher, political and social commentator, critic, blogger and academic. His shortlisted poetry collection ‘Love and Protest’ was compiled by Paw Print Publishing. The collection contains poems written during October 2013 to November 2014. Continue reading


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The State & Future of Publishing in Sri Lanka

by Sam Perera

Among bookshops that are closing down, are those that are thriving. Amid unattractive displays, narrow aisles and dusty shelves, dedicated readers linger, browse, ferret around and thumb through an ever increasing selection of new publications. This steady stream of quiet, cultured consumers is the coveted audience of writers, publishers and booksellers alike.

So what are people reading, and in multi-lingual Lanka, in what language? Not surprisingly, the demographic is divided proportionally among Sri Lanka’s linguistic groups with the Sinhala readership grabbing the lion’s share. Poets abound and poetry primes – again, not surprisingly as Sinhala is a witty tongue with which the dullest of us laugh at the direst of situations with wry humour. University Dons turned poets – like Liyanage Amarakeerthi or those who have shown the way like Gunadasa Amarasekera display an enviable mastery of the language and their works are much sought after by readers of the esoteric.  Edward Mallawaarachchi’s novels are liberally rose-tinted and calculated to please an analogous readership to that of Mills & Boon. Like many writers of this genre, he is not alone and his work competes fiercely with authors like Sujeeva Prasanna Aarachchi or Samindra Ratnayake. Continue reading


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Sri Lanka: Await a local-flavoured literary feast

What Sri Lankan does not know the tart, succulent sweetness of pineapple; or the buttery nut flavour of steaming chick peas, bought fresh off the pavement, tossed in mysterious seasonings that you cannot seem to replicate at home?

Vendors appear, as if out of thin air, at every street corner where Sri Lankans gather in any respectable number. Indeed, “annasi” and “kadala gotu” are as familiar to us as blaring horns, resplendent sunsets or salty sea breezes. So what better name for a literary festival that aims to showcase homegrown writing than…“Annasi and Kadala Gotu”?

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This Divided Island:Review: Stories from the Sri Lankan War by Samanth Subramanian

srilankaIn May 1991, long before he wrote The Divided Island, Samanth Subramanian and his mother were travelling to Madras when their train suddenly came to a halt. His mother leaned out of a window and was told that Rajiv Gandhi had been assassinated. Gandhi had sent peacekeeping troops to Sri Lanka thereby angering the terrorist organisation, the Tamil Tigers. The suicide bomber who had just killed him was a Tamil woman.

Growing up in Tamil Nadu, Subramanian had always been aware of Sri Lanka “joined like a tugboat” to the huge ocean liner that was mainland India. And so in 2004 he began a series of visits to the island to see for himself what the country was really like. He arrived with few preconceptions, one being that Sri Lanka was shaped like a teardrop. It was not long, however, before this perception changed and the teardrop became a “hand grenade”. Continue reading


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Review: ‘Noontide Toll,’ by Romesh Gunesekera

romesh_gunesekeraThis collection of linked stories, set in post-civil-war, post-tsunami Sri Lanka, is narrated by a retired clerk who has sunk his savings into a minibus and now hires himself out as a driver. Each story traces a different journey, with passengers that include three Russians on their way to a new luxury spa; a Roman Catholic priest and his acolyte pursuing a kind of detective mission; a Czech couple who share a walk on a beach with a night watchman whose entire family perished, along with more than 30,000 other Sri Lankans, in the 2004 tsunami; a delegation of Chinese businessmen appraising vast “junk fields” of military scrap; and a Sri Lankan general (also a renowned ballroom dancer) en route to a meeting with a woman whose family he has all but destroyed. The 14 stories in “Noontide Toll” function like the stages of a tour through a place that’s trying to emerge from the ruins, yet is still “trapped by the past despite the prospects ahead.”

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