Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

“Death, Beauty, Struggle’

Untouchable Women Create the World by Margaret Trawick, University of Press, 2017 304 pages | 6 x 9 Cloth 2017 | ISBN 9780812249057 | $75.00s | Outside the Americas £62.00 Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors “This is the work of the most important anthropologist working in South India and Tamil-speaking Sri Lanka in the past fifty… Read more »

Listening to the Song of Singamma

by Shefali Jha, The Book Review Literary Trust, New Delhi, 2018? Enclosures and boundaries have a conflicted meaning for women. Enclosures are often not safe spaces for them and women have to constantly resist boundaries in order to live their lives. The book under review looks at how ‘conventional Tamil symbols—unbroken enclosures like bangles, pots,… Read more »

A Sin-eater’s (Lakshman Kadirgamar) Story

by Sachi Sri Kantha, August 10, 2019 Book Review: ‘The Cake that was Baked at Home – Lakshman Kadirgamar, Snapshotsof the Man’s Life and Times by his Daughter’, by Ajita Kadirgamar, Vijitha Yapa Publications, Colombo, 2nd ed., 2016, 522 pages. Fourteen years had passed since Lakshman Kadirgamar (1932-2005) was assassinated on August 12th. Though the… Read more »

‘Losing Santhia’

by Chris Slee, ‘Green Left Weekly,’ Melbourne, Australia, August 1, 2019 Serialization of story Ben Hillier’s presentation at book launch Eighty people attended the launch of Ben Hillier’s new book Losing Santhia, which was organised by the Tamil Refugee Council on July 27. Santhia was a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka who had been a member… Read more »

Tamil Female Civil Space

Its Evolution and Decline in Tamil Eelam by N. Malathy, Aakar Books, Delhi, July 2019 Region : World | Language : English | Product Binding : Paper Back | Page No. : 141 | Year : 2019 ISBN : 9789350026229 INR : 395 Overview Modern Feminist ideologies serve only middle class women in the developing world…. Read more »

‘One Part Woman’

by Perumal Murugan review – a skilful Tamil tale by Meena Kandasamy, ‘The Guardian,’ UK, July 25, 2019 This sensuous novel about an infertile couple in 1940s Tamil Nadu was met with a furore on its publication in India With the backdrop of Hindu nationalist fervour gripping India, One Part Woman finds a historical parallel in Rushdie’s Satanic… Read more »

The Best Books to Understand Modern Terrorism

After Sri Lanka by Iain Overton, The Guardian, UK, April 25, 2019 Though the first suicide bombing was in 1881, 40% of those killed by them have died in the last five years. Iain Overton picks the best books that explain why Terror is not a new phenomenon. The 19th-century invention of dynamite by a… Read more »

Government and Politics in Sri Lanka

Biopolitics and security by A. R. Sriskanda Rajah, Routledge Studies in South Asian Politics, 2017 167 pages TCIN: 53075469 UPC: 9781138290976 Item Number (DPCI): 248-54-2218 The island of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) was one of the few Asian colonies in which the British Empire experimented liberal state-building in the nineteenth century, and where many British colonial officials predicted that… Read more »

Sri Lankan Poetry in English

Getting Beyond the Colonial Heritage by D. C. R. A. Goonetilleke, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, 21 : 3 , July 1990 THE CONTINUING AND growing vitality during the last three decades of Sri Lankan literature in English seems to be disproving the prophecies of gloom and doom made periodically about it. In 1964,… Read more »

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: ** 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 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

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 »