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Authored by: Kaushalya Kumarasinghe

The Routledge Companion to Sinhala Fiction from Post-War Sri Lanka

Print publication date:  September  2022
Online publication date:  September  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367554682
eBook ISBN: 9781003094708
Adobe ISBN:


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This is an excerpt from a novel that has two stories running parallel for the length of it, meeting at points with the characters not even being aware of the points of contact. Two classes, the economically privileged and the not are shown through university students who are mostly from underprivileged classes , state tertiary education being free in Sri Lanka. Often, the concerns and falsity of feeling in one are juxtaposed with the passions and struggles of the other. The structure of parallel worlds is maintained in the excerpt, and what is given here, with a quick reference also to what happened to them during the 1988–1989 Sinhala insurgency , shows some of the problems that Sri Lankan youth face in present society: the sudden disappearances of ‘troublemakers’ that are never explained; exploitation through capitalism shown through garment workers, the garment industry being the largest provider of employment for girls at present; use of art and media to gloss over, and not deal with, unfair working conditions and so on. The media is also exposed in showing how they paint a rosy picture of the state of life in these factories, and presenting without question, the official version of serious matters, for example, the discovery of mass graves. A feminist point is made by showing the fate of girls who, starting with media exposure like that of a dance group, get pulled in further towards sexual exploitation , and have no release thereafter when even the law that is meant to protect them violates them even further.

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