When Memory Fails - A. Sivanandan
This book tells of the development of Sri Lanka, in particular the racial tensions which led to the Tamil uprising, over three generations of one family.
The Buddha taught that to live is to experience suffering. Few family sagas, especially first ones, have captured this aspect of suffering and so many other truths in as lyric a fashion as "When Memory Dies." Through the viewpoints of three generations of a Sri Lankan family (taking the reader from 1920 through the 1980s), Sivanandan explores a culture destroyed first by colonization, then through the ethnic divisions that are released when the country achieves independence. The family, which lives at a level of poverty that makes survival a constant struggle, must also balance love for one another with a deep love of their homeland. Without bending to romanticism or proselytization, the author evokes a compelling and very human story of a lost country. It is a vision as beautifully told as it is unrelenting in its devotion to truth. In the process, the work also supplies a rich historic background to the often underreported news accounts of the massacres and upheavals in Sri Lanka.
"Haunting and immense tenderness. the extraordinary poetic tact of this book makes it unforgettable" - John Berger, The Guardian"Profoundly moving. Sivanandan triumphs in his evocation of a beautiful country he perceives as doomed. His love for the country he has lost is the driving passion of his work" - Evening Standard"This is not just a book about Sri Lanka. The struggles it touches upon, both moral and political, face us all: the battle between our hunger for love or learning or success and our need, even passion, for integrity. This is a book of, and about, many lifetimes" - Melissa Benn, The Independent"This rich novel, peopled with unforgettable heroines and heroes, will haunt the reader's mind"- David Rose, The observer"A brilliant and moving first novel" - TLS
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