Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

Then There Were No Witnesses

Ahilan’s poetry bears powerful testimony to Sri Lankan civil war by Kavitha Muralidharan, ‘FirstPost,’ Delhi, October 6, 2018 We are here now. Eating without hands, Seeing without eyes Walking on wooden stumps We are here, Beneath your shining silk banners It is us. We are here, Under your umbrella, Splashing fire ceaselessly On the oozing… Read more »

Review: For India, ‘Our Time Has Come’

In the not-too-distant future, India could have a $10 trillion economy, the world’s third largest military and the world’s largest middle class. Tunku Varadarajan reviews ‘Our Time Has Come’ by Alyssa Ayres. by Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2018 When India won independence in 1947, there was every hope that it would… Read more »

Nationalism, Development and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Written by Dr. Rajesh Venogopal, November 2018 Publisher:Cambridge University Press Online publication date:November 2018 Print publication year:2018 Online ISBN:9781108553414  This book examines the relationship between ethnic conflict and economic development in modern Sri Lanka. Drawing on a historically informed political sociology, it explores how the economic and the ethnic have encountered one another, focusing in… Read more »

Peer Review on Two Recently Published Papers about the LTTE

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 18, 2018 Note: Whole of last month, I was busy with my move from Gifu City to Tokyo. Uprooting myself and my library collections, from a place where I had lived for nearly 19 years, was a heavy burden to this bibliophile. I had to voluntarily dispose of almost half… Read more »

‘One Part Woman’

A Novel That Roiled India Is Now Translated Into English by Parul Sehgal, ‘The New York Times,’ October 16, 2018 In 2015, the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan committed literary suicide. “Perumal Murugan the writer is dead,” he posted on his Facebook page. “Leave him alone.” He instructed his publishers to stop selling his work and readers… Read more »

Websites for Tamil Books

List compiled by A.K. Shanmuganathan, Point Pedro, Sri Lanka 1. Project Madurai  Complete list of Project Madurai works: http://www.infitt.org/pmadurai/pmworks.html ** 2. Tamil Virtual Academy (formerly Tamil Virtual University) An autonomous Institution, established by the Government of Tamilnadu தமிழ்இணையக் கல்விக் கழகம் தமிழக அரசால் நிறுவப் பெற்ற தன்னாட்சி நிறுவனம். நூலகம் / Library http://www.tamilvu.org/library/libindexen.htm அகராதிகள்  Pal’s Dictionary (Eng-Tamil) தமிழ் – தமிழ்… Read more »

‘Kantarodai Civilization of Ancient Jaffna’

Kantarodai Civilization of Ancient Jaffna 500 BCE – 800 CE : A Study in Archaeology and Other Disciplines by Dr Siva Thiagarajah ISBN 9789556595260 Published 2016 by Kumaran Book House, Colombo Book is available at: Tamil Information Centre, Bridge End Cl, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6PZ Phone: 020 8546 1560 and http://www.marymartin.com/web/selectedIndex?mEntry=241252

A (Tamil) Reading of Albert Camus’ The Plague

by Charles Sarvan, August 17, 2018 Colombo Telegraph (14 October 2017) reported that in Mullaitivu there’s one Sinhalese soldier for every two Tamil civilians. It added that this ratio does not include personnel belonging to the navy and air-force. Elsewhere too, demographic realities are being systematically and forcibly changed. (I gather that soon, if not… Read more »

Akil Kumarasamy’s “Half Gods”

A Début Collection Explores Strife, Trauma, and “a Lifetime Loving Strangers” by Katie Waldman, ‘The New Yorker,’ July 7, 2018  The dinner party is for fiction writers what the étude is for pianists: a high-stakes showcase for their many talents. Authors must stage-manage a large number of characters brought together into one enclosed space; they must… Read more »

Debut Stories Trace the Aftershocks of the Sri Lankan Civil War

by Tania James, ‘The New York Times,’ July 5, 2018 HALF GODS By Akil Kumarasamy 224 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $25. In Tamil, farewells are never final. As Akil Kumarasamy pointed out in a 2017 interview, the Tamil equivalent of goodbye is poyittu varen, meaning “I’ll go and return.” These are parting words especially suited… Read more »

Melancholic Mythologies: “Half Gods” and the “Mahabharata”

by Kalyan Nadiminti, ‘Los Angeles Review of Books,’ June 16, 2018 EARLY IN Half Gods, the debut story collection by Sri Lankan-American author Akil Kumarasamy, Muthu, a Sri Lankan refugee-patriarch, narrates the melancholic reality of surviving the Sri Lankan Civil War. As an exile, he engages in games of “word memory,” compulsively absorbing text as a… Read more »

SL Tamils Built an Online Library to Replace One Torched in 1981

Sri Lankan Tamils around the world have built an online library to replace one torched in 1981 Among the Noolaham Digital Library’s 16,000 documents are four volumes of one of the oldest Tamil grammar books, and copies of over 24 palm-leaf manuscripts. by Smriti Daniel, ‘Scroll.in,’ Feb 18, 2016  http://www.noolaham.org Seran Sivananthamoorthy is only 25… Read more »

An Ethnic Conflict & an Accord

by Press Trust of India on Shruti TV, May 10, 2018 Discussion of T. Ramakrishnan’s book ‘Or Inapprachinaiyum Or Oppandhamum,’ ‘An Ethnic Conflict and An Accord’ at Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.  With Prof. V Suryanarayan, & Chandrahasan. Moderated by Col. Hariharan. Most interesting is the Q & A starting at 1 hr. 12+ min…. Read more »

Did the GoSL Win the War of the Tigers Lose?

A review of Peter Stafford Roberts’ “The Sri Lankan Insurgency: Rebalancing the Orthodox Position” and Stephen Battle’s “Lessons In Legitimacy: The LTTE End-Game Of 2007–2009” by Peter Alphonsus, ‘The Sunday Observer,’ Colombo, May 13, 2018 It is a truth universally acknowledged that in May 2009 the Government of Sri Lanka won the war. This extraordinary… Read more »

The Island Story: A Short History Of Sri Lanka

by Charles Sarvan, ‘The Island,’ Colombo, May 5, 2018 Book Review: K. M de Silva, The Island Story: A Short History of Sri Lanka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2017. EPIGRAPH: Sri Lanka in the first few centuries after the early settlement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society: a conception which emphasises harmony and a… Read more »

Half Gods

by Akil Kumarasamy, to be released June 5, 2018 A startlingly beautiful debut, Half Gods brings together the exiled, the disappeared, the seekers. Following the fractured origins and destines of two brothers named after demigods from the ancient epic the Mahabharata, we meet a family struggling with the reverberations of the past in their lives. These ten… Read more »

‘War, Denial and Nation-Building in Sri Lanka’ Book Launch

by ‘Tamil Guardian,’ London, April 30, 2018 Rachel Seoighe launched her book ‘War, Denial and Nation-Building in Sri Lanka’, which explores how political discourse has been utilised to deny and re-engineer state violence in Sri Lanka, at an event in London last week. “People were dying in their hundreds, we still don’t know how many people… Read more »

Buddhism, Politics, and Violence

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road by Michael Jerryson, Oxford University Press, May 2, 2018 It is said that the famous ninth century Chinese Buddhist monk Linji Yixuan told his disciples, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The deliberately confounding statement is meant to shock people out of complacent… Read more »

Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities

Religious Conflict in Contemporary Sri Lanka Edited by John Holt, Hargrave Press, October 31, 2016  Proposes an alternative view of Muslims where, unlike in the Middle East, they are the victims of majoritarian politics Discusses events that invert the common stereotypes of Buddhists as pacifists and Muslims as violent jihadists 254 Pages | 5 illus. 6-1/8… Read more »

The Banality Of Evil

by Karthick Ram Manoharan, ‘Outlook India,’ February 5, 2018 The torture of incarcerated Tamils was not a betrayal of the Sri Lankan state’s Sinhala-Buddhist ideal, but that ideal being taken to its logical conclusion, writes Karthick Ram Manoharan. Excerpts from his afterword to Sri Lankan Tamil novelist Kuna Kaviyalahan’s ‘The Poisoned Dream’. Kuna Kaviyalahan’s The Poisoned… Read more »