Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

‘Prisoner #1056: A Survivor’s Story’

Why and how, I wrote Prisoner #1056 – The story behind the story by Roy Ratnavel, May 18, 2022 Book expected to be released by Penguin Random House on April 18th, 2023. Pre-order at https://www.amazon.ca/Prisoner-1056-Survivors-Roy-Ratnavel-ebook/dp/B09Z4JKCCV/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2D3PVSCLYHW3V&keywords=roy+ratnavel&qid=1652886733&sprefix=roy+rat%2Caps%2C115&sr=8-1 ‘The Rise’ Keynote Address about the book, May 8, 2022, London on YouTube In my thirties, perhaps around the age… Read more »

Sex, Repression & Sanskritization in Sri Lanka 1987

The 1987 Stirling Award Essay by Dennis McGilvray, Ethos, American Anthropological Association, Vol. 16, No. 2 (June 1988), pp. 99-127 The_1987_Stirling_Award_Essay_Sex_Repres Since 1952, when the concept of Sanskritization was first utilized by M. N. Srinivas in his study of the Coorgs of western India, the idea has been a useful, if at times ambiguous, tool… Read more »

Review: ‘The Red Tern’

by Zulma Publishers, France, Spring 2022 Originally in Tamil, translated into French as ‘La Sterne Rouge’ A major Sri Lankan voice Ala is born and raised in Sri Lanka, in a Tamil village prone to attacks from Sinhalese paramilitary groups. Exposed to inter-ethnic violence, she is still a child when she joins the Tamil Tigers…. Read more »

Book on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Peace Efforts

in Sri Lanka to release on Feb 28 by Press Trust of India, February 2, 2022 New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Revealing the untold story of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s peace efforts in Sri Lanka, a new book, “The Tiger’s Pause”, gives readers a sweeping view of the spiritual leader’s endeavours towards a ceasefire agreement in… Read more »

From Temple to Battlefield

Bharata Natyam in Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Janet O’Shea, in ‘Choreographies of 21st Century Wars,’ edited by Gay Morris, Jens Richard Giersdorf, Oxford University Press, 2016 Three Images of Dance and Cultural Production in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora Early parts of the chapter are readable at https://books.google.com/books?id=54ZVCwAAQBAJ&lpg=PT118&ots=Z8jFNbl3LZ&lr&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false Book Synopsis Wars… Read more »

Indian Ocean Strategic Studies Newsletter

by Indian Ocean Strategic Studies, New York, January 2022 Indian Ocean Strategic Studies newsletter January 2022 Mission of the IOSS Indian Ocean is at the heart of international geo-politics. Some 80% of the world’s maritime oil trade flows through three narrow passages of water, known as choke points, in the Indian Ocean. This includes the… Read more »

‘Sovereignty, Space and Civil War in Sri Lanka’

Porous Nation by Anoma Pieris Routledge, 2019 9781351246347 Analyses of the Sri Lankan civil war (1983–2009) overwhelmingly represent it as an ethnonationalist contest, prolonging postcolonial arguments on the creation and dissolution of the incipient nation-state since independence in 1948. While colonial divide-and-rule policies, the rise of ethnonationalist lobbies, structural discrimination and majoritarian democracy have been… Read more »

Review: ‘You People’ by Nikita Lalwani

The limits of compassion by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, The Guardian, Manchester UK, April 1, 2020 A London pizzeria staffed by undocumented migrants is the setting for a moving exploration of how to be kind in an unkind world Nikita Lalwani’s 2007 debut Gifted, the story of a maths prodigy raised by her Hindu parents in Cardiff… Read more »

Banishment and Belonging

Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon (2019) Book Review by Greg Fealy, New Mandala, June 29, 2020 Ronit Ricci, Banishment and Belonging: Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2019, 282pp, ISBN 978-1-108-72724-2. For well over a century, Sri Lanka was the Dutch colonial administration’s main site of exile for… Read more »

Book Review: ‘Wanderers, Kings, Merchants’

Peggy Mohan’s ‘Wanderers, Kings, Merchants’ is about language, land & the people by Pushpinder Syal, The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, June 13, 2021 Peggy Mohan’s book tells a story of language, which is that of a fascinating process of mixing and adaptation through time. Language, in its very existence and evolution, resists the notion of purity,… Read more »

The Origins of the Great Divergence

A review of Peer Vries’ “Escaping poverty” by Branko Milanovic, his personal Substack, July 22, 2021 While the world is witnessing global convergence (essentially the catch up of Asia with the West), the debates  about the origins of the Great Divergence—the take-off of the West and absence of growth in the Rest—are going strong. I… Read more »

Review of ‘A Passage North’ by Anuk Arudpragasam

Long shadows by Nilanjana Roy, Financial Times, London, July 2, 2021 The Sri Lankan writer’s second novel attempts to air the wounds of the country’s civil war and refuses to succumb to collective amnesia It can take just two novels to establish a writer as one of the most individual minds of their generation. Anuk… Read more »

Performing Politics

State Power, Ethnicity and Gender in Sri Lanka by Janet O’Shea, Dance Chronicle, 34:146–151, 2011 Review of Susan A. Reed’s 2009 book “Dance and the Nation: Performance, Ritual, and Politics in Sri Lanka” 288 pp. with DVD. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009. $29.95 paper. ISBN – 13: 978-0-29923-164-4 Performing Politics O’Shea review 2011 Reed’s… Read more »

‘Tigresses in the Tamil Eelam Struggle’ Review

‘The Orders Were to Rape You: Tigresses in the Tamil Eelam Struggle’ review: Surviving war by Meera Srinivasan, The Hindu, Chennai, India, April 24, 2021 Meena Kandasamy records the gruesome first-person experiences of two women of the Tamil Eelam struggle The picture of a woman with cropped hair, attired in camouflage shirt and trousers, and… Read more »

Rathika Pathmanathan’s Northern Memoir

Light to shed darkness on Southern war-myths by Lanka Associate blog, December 19, 2019 Rathika’s narrative builds through her experiences as a trainee in an LTTE camp, her brief war experiences, and the last days of battle after which she enters military-held ground as a maimed combatant. The spirit that echoes through these words is… Read more »

Home Is Elsewhere

One of Sri Lanka’s most compelling voices plays with ideas of displacement by Shahnaz Habib, OpentheMagazine.com, February 15, 2015 In an airplane from Frankfurt to Colombo, as the seat belt sign flickers alive, warning passengers of turbulence, two men sitting next to each other wonder where they have seen each other before. Sitting in the… Read more »

Evident Truths

American women at war by Nimmi Gowrinathan, Los Angeles Review of Books, April 2, 2021 IN ONE OF CHINUA ACHEBE’s lesser-known short stories, “Girls at War,” an elder government official, Mr. Nwankwo, is shocked when he’s stopped at a checkpoint by Gladys, a young Nigerian woman holding an AK-47. “He simply could not sneer at the girls… Read more »

Karunanidhi: A Life

by A.S. Panneerselvan, Penguin, March 2021 Rather amusing video of a reading of a section of the book on ” Karunanidhi and the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue “ The definitive biography of a fascinating politician In Karunanidhi: A Life, A.S. Panneerselvan tells the story of the man who became a metaphor for modern Tamil Nadu, where… Read more »

Waves Across the South

A New History of Revolution and Empire by Sujit Sivasundaram, August 2020 Sujit Sivasundaram was born and educated in Sri Lanka (in ‘Sinhala medium’ until 1992) and came to Cambridge in 1994 to study engineering and then natural sciences and history and philosophy of science. In 2012 he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for… Read more »