Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Four years on
How long does it take to write a book? Quite a while, apparently. It has taken a lot of travelling, a lot of cloak-and-dagger meetings, and a whole lot of surreptitious telephone notes and sketches for Samanth Subramanian to get his second book out on to the shelves. The first was four years ago, and the years between, on the evidence of the first few pages of his new book, have been spent well.
This Divided Island does not have a political agenda. It is very easy for the Lankan civil war to grab any discussion about it and drag it to an abusive free-for-all. The first evidence of that was in 1985, when some of my college-mates went on a signature campaign against the government of Sri Lanka, and the years since have hardened stances.
I am looking forward to reading this book. I thought I would be able to finish a substantial part of it before its Chennai launch ten days ago, but it is not a light read. There will be no chest thumping, guts-and-glory story. The stories will be of ordinary Sri Lankans, voiceless people who were the worst affected in the 3-decade long war. The war ended in 2009. These stories will live on for ever!