19 January, 2021

Memory As Dream

A stark Sri Lankan family saga

Memory As Dream
"When memory dies a people die." "But what if we make up false memories?" "That's worse, that's murder."

MISPLACED hopes, broken dreams—over the last year reams and reams of paper have been expended by the milestone industry on the subcontinent's tumultuous half-century of independence. The balance sheet has been updated, leaders berated, successes trumpeted, blame apportioned, goals reevaluated; so that we common folk can go back to the business of living with a clear conscience, with the heady aftertaste of responsible inquiry.

This is a cop-out A. Sivanandan scrupulously eschews as he seeks the genesis of Sri Lanka's sorrows, its ethnic divisions, uprooted histories, invented narratives, clouded memories. His protagonists, three generations of a clan forever struggling to make ends meet, are ordinary people, really, made extraordinary by their relentless quest for the fundamental truths, by their uncompromising responses to that still small voice, as they grapple with and bear the imprint of their nation's travails.

The novel is...



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