Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

The English Voice of Tamil Writers

by Mini Krishnan, ‘The Hindu,’ Chennai, May 12, 2016  Lakshmi Holmstrom entered not only the literary texts she selected for translation, but the cultural establishments that produced them A powerful translatorial voice has fallen silent. Once in a long while, we encounter a writer who really changed the literary landscape he or she inhabited. While… Read more »

New Tamil Writing

by Words without Borders, New York, April 2015 This month we present Tamil writing. The Tamil literary tradition of associating images with landscapes informs the fiction and poetry here, as writers locate their considerations of alienation, exile, and diaspora, and address how identities and customs change with both figurative and literal terrain. In tales from… Read more »

Contemporary Tamil Writing from Sri Lanka

Edited by Kannan Muthukrishnan, Rebecca Whittington, D. Senthil Babu & David C. Buck Paperback: 304 pages Publisher: Penguin Books India (1 December 2014) Language: English ISBN-10: 0143423045 ISBN-13: 978-0143423041 Kannan Muthukrishnan (b. 1968) heads the Programme on Contemporary Tamil Culture, Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry. Rebecca Whittington (b. 1987) is a PhD student… Read more »

An Anthology Of Sri Lankan Literature

Edited by Shyam Selvadurai, May 2014 Paperback Publisher: Penguin Books Limited (India) Language: English ISBN-10: 0143423037 ISBN-13: 978-0143423034 About the book Shyam Selvadurai pieces together the best of Sri Lankan poetry and fiction in this anthology. From the Sinhala and Tamil writers of the 1950s to diasporic writers of today, from stories of love and… Read more »

‘Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka’

by Sachi Sri Kantha, April 4, 2016 Book Review: Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka – Ancient, Medieval and Modern, by Sanmugam Arumugam (edited by Thirumugam Arumugam), Ohm Books, UK, 2014, 238 pages. ISBN 978-0-9575023-4-5. This book is a combined edition of two books, published previously in 1980 and 1991 by civil engineer and Hindu… Read more »

‘Modern Tamils & the Tamil National Question’

Two books by Nagaratnam Parameswaran are now available on Kindle via Amazon. Modern Tamils and Tamil National Question: Sri Lanka/Ilankai 1798-2012 This book is the third and final in the series on the history of the Sri Lankan Tamils. As its title states, it covers the modern period of British rule of the island (1796… Read more »

‘Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka’

Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka: Ancient, Medieval and Modern by Sanmugam Arumugam, 2014 Ohm Books, UK ISBN-10: 0957502346 ISBN-13: 978-0957502345 ASIN: B00M60XIA6 (Kindle)  In 1980, Sanmugam Arumugam (1905 – 2000) wrote a book titled ‘Ancient Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka’. There was a good demand for the book and a second revised… Read more »

How Sri Lanka’s Beauty Withstood Centuries of War and Colonialism

Listen to the interview at The South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka has been colonized by three different empires and has endured brutal civil war and political instability. In Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka, travel writer John Gimlette illustrates how Sri Lankans have preserved their cultural identity, and how incredible wildlife and natural beauty have withstood centuries… Read more »

Denying the Right to Return

Resettlement in Musali South and the Wilpattu Controversy Shahul H.Hasbullah, Kandy Forum 2015. 124pp. ISBN 978-955-7902-00-5 Priced:Rs.500.00Denying the Right to Return is an in-depth academic study on the history of Musali South and the issues and problems of the displaced and the returnees. This study explores the historical, socio- economic, political and geopolitical aspects of… Read more »

Bargaining with a Rising India

Book review by Merlin Linehan, London School of Economics, September 16, 2014 The need to negotiate effectively with India is only growing as its power rises, and in the literature on international negotiation experimental studies point to specific behavioural characteristics of Indian negotiators. This book focuses on India’s negotiating traditions through the lens of the classical… Read more »

Santhan’s Re-visit to 1977 and 1979

As such, Santhan strives to – and succeeds in – capturing a “local resonance” and a “response of the soil” to the political and social alienation of which both Northern and Southern Tamils were victims. Santhan’s Rails Run Parallel is a rare moment of unambitious honesty in a story teller trying to represent the above: a far cry from those who make writing stories out of the Lankan Civil war a livelihood and the means of a quick buck.

The Terrible War for Sri Lanka

No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka a film by Callum Macrae Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera New Press, 237 pp., $24.95 The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan Verso, 353 pp., $26.95 This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War by Samanth… Read more »

This Divided Island

by William Darymple, ‘The Guardian,’ UK, March 9, 2015 Samanth Subramanian’s forensic account of the 26-year Sri Lankan war is a remarkable book by one of India’s most talented writers of non-fiction As a young foreign correspondent posted to South Asia in the late 1980s, I spent a lot of time in the Sri Lankan… Read more »

Tamil Nation Library

Alagappan, M.V.M. Tears in Teardrop Island, Sterling Publishers Private Limited, New Delhi, 1985 Anderson, Jon Lee and Scott Anderson:* War Zones, (Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, 1988), pp.173-233. Book Note by Sachi Sri Kantha – Journalist brothers had covered the Sri Lankan civil war (in the form of oral histories) and between the covers… Read more »

Review: Noontide Toll

Sri Lanka is a land of arguments. Arguments that cause punch-ups on live TV, shoot-outs during elections, riots over religion, and wars that go on for decades. Our civil war may have ended five years ago, but the arguments never stopped – over why we harass minorities, why we silence journalists and why even countries with dodgy human rights records find us offensive. Then there are the arguments over whom the island belongs to, who deserves justice and how the war was won and lost… Vasantha’s thoughts are the soul of the book, rambling and poetic, wrapped in folksy wit and shrewd observation. Through him, Romesh Gunesekera examines the central argument that continues to rage across the island and its many roads. How should Sri Lanka address its past? Do we dig it up or do we bury it?

Autobiography of Actor-politician S.S. Rajendran

by Sachi Sri Kantha, January 3, 2015 Book: Nan Vantha Pathai [The Path I Trod], by S.S. Rajendran, Akani Veliyeedu, Vandavasi, Sept 2014, 392 pp, Indian rupees 500. Sedapatti Suryanarayana Thevar Rajendran (affectionately known as SSR by Tamilians) was a founder member of DMK party and contributed to its growth for the first 20 years,… Read more »

Sri Lanka: Hiding The Elephant

Sri Lanka Hiding the Elephant: A Perspective On The Author Professor Ramu Manivannan It was such an honour to introduce Prof. Ramu Manivannan, the author of the hugely compelling book Sri Lanka: Hiding the Elephant – Documenting Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, at its launch in Toronto Canada on 13, December 2014. The… Read more »

The Seasons of Trouble

2012 piece by Rohini Mohan in Caravan Magazine ————— From Verso Press: The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan “A significant, though heartrending, account.” –Alan Moores, Booklist For three decades, Sri Lanka’s civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil… Read more »

Sri Lanka: Where Disappearances Served as a National Security Imperative

Thomson-Senanayake’s study explores these historical fault-lines through the manner in which disappearances served as an integral part of a system of state power and patronage during 1971-2002, ‘to enable the political elite to immobilise all political opposition.’ This is a reading of history which peels away the skin of ideological preoccupations and exposes the truth for what it is, simply a ruthless appropriation of ancient mistrusts and convenient mythologies to serve the political purposes of governments and oppositions.