Friday, September 30, 2016

Plodding Through "Many Roads through Paradise: An Anthology of Sri Lankan Literature"

I picked it up with high hopes but couldn't find the time to do it justice. It's a blend of prose and poetry and a bit bulky to boot. A must have for anyone who wants to somehow glimpse writings from all over the world.

As a tourist destination, Sri Lanka attracts many and this would be wonderful for anyone who is planning a visit.

I've evolved a way to keep track of what I'm reading and that's to take pictures of significant pages or passages. I can see how valuable a Kindle would be to a person like me! Yes, I'd love to have one on my Birthday!

To return to the anthology, the first two stories are actually excerpts from longer works and don't really breathe well on their own. There was a naughty one somewhere in the middle that was slightly entertaining. Towards the end, some stories deal with the civil war but failed to grip. As I said above, I have failed to do this book justice and would hope to sit with it at leisure. 

There's a nice section about the authors which makes it a valuable resource.

Lakdasa Wikkramasinha is a poet. So is  Vinothini. And there's Vilvaratnam...

Patrick Fernando is also a poet! And Vijita...

As for Ashok Ferry, I've read something of his but can't recall the name of the book...

Buddhadasa Galappatty, also a poet and Vimala Ganeshananthan has to her credit The Yaal Playersmemories of Old Jaffna.

V.V. "Sugi" Ganeshananthan reads from her book:

Women, especially those from India, Sri Lanka, etc. seem fixated on marriage themes...Is she similar to Chitra Divakaruni? 

Yasmine Gooneratne's books appear interesting - I'd love to read one soon.

I repeat: this book would have been so much more enchanting if read on a Kindle as the physical book is unwieldy in size and, to an extent, in content.

As you can see, that's a whole lot of authors! So, all in all, it's an ambitious work and, just perhaps, it hasn't quite come together for me.

I still think I'd love to come across this book in an airport library (do they have those?) or in a hotel - hotels simply must have a bookshelf at least if not a library. Westin, Bali, had one.

Sri Lanka is a country whose stories would be most valuable when narrated by native voices, turbulent, sensuous, austere, verdant, violent, island voices, a Buddhist country, war, strife, love, tea, tsunami, hills, rivers, fragrances, aromas, families, lives, loves... I've sold myself on this book and may even re-review it here  

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