Showing all posts tagged: Anuk Arudpragasam

A review of Anuk Arudpragasam’s novel A Passage North

21 September 2021

Isn’t Bookstagram awesome? Soon after writing about Anuk Arudpragasam’s novel A Passage North, I found this eloquent review of his work written by Aloka.

While sitting in my living room I was transported to a train anywhere in the subcontinent looking out into grassy fields for miles spotted with cattle and small mud huts with thatched roofs paddy fields and streams and stations with hot chai in tiny plastic cups and samosas. Berths with thin white sheets and packed dinners leaking with yellow oil. A recent cross country train ride I did just my older son and I where we spent sometime just staring out of the window each with our own thoughts.

While I’m yet to read A Passage North, it seems to me these words capture something of the novel’s essence.

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A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam

21 September 2021
A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam, book cover

A Passage North, (published by Granta Books, 15 July 2021), is the second novel of Colombo, Sri Lanka, born novelist Anuk Arudpragasam, and was included on the Booker Prize shortlist last week. Set in the wake of the thirty year long civil war that devastated much of northern and eastern Sri Lanka, the story follows Krishan, a young Tamil man, as he makes his way from Colombo to the war ravaged north.

The death of Rana, his late grandmother’s former carer precipitates the long train journey. While travelling to Kilinochchi, Krishan contemplates an email from Anjum, his ex-girlfriend whom he met while living in Delhi, India. This message is the first contact with her in four years, after she ended the relationship to prioritise her activist interests.

Arudpragasam’s work is influenced by late Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, and this manifests itself in the long sentences and paragraphs that are replete throughout the novel. Dialogue is non-existent, as is a focus on story and setting, and it is this less than standard approach to writing that sets A Passage North apart from other works of literature.

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