In This Chapter

Two Friends

Authored by: Sunethra Rajakarunanayake

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 the novel Saumyalokaya 1 (Gentle Light) – a very long story that spans two countries, India and Sri Lanka – and follows the fate of a mixed-race child, Saumyan, and his friends, both in Sri Lanka and India. It is told by multiple narrators, Indians as well as those of Sri Lankan Sinhala, Tamil, and Burgher ethnic origins, and covers the time period of the war in Sri Lanka, and the time afterwards, capturing the complexities of the multiethnic society here, as well as a segment of society in India. Set in a border village – that is, a village that bordered LTTE-controlled territory – the first part of this excerpt shows a rural area that has militarization as a part of its makeup; and has an instance of how Sinhala civilians get caught to the terrorism of Tamil militants, as innocents are massacred . It also contains perhaps one of the most positive depictions of a Buddhist monk , in the character who comes forward to bring up the orphaned boys. The fate of mixed-race children, in such a climate of war, is also caught well here. The novel on the whole, finally, carries a message of hope, when some young Sinhala and Tamil people decide together to rebuild their homes in the North, that had been decimated by the war.

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