Deer-Slayer Salaman

Authored by: Nissanka Wijemanne

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 the story of a Home Guard in a border village , a voluntary force that helped the army secure villages from attacks by terrorists during the war. The theme of sexuality and its connection with guns and masculinity is shown right throughout this story by depicting the narrator as being able to declare his love only through the medium of violence. It also points to the gradual militarization of villages – it was not that guns were not owned earlier, the story itself shows how, during his childhood, violence was very much a part of life, as was poverty and indifference of his community towards his welfare. The link between the economy and militarization is also drawn here by showing the ability of the boy to support his cousin, buy her phones and all that, is through his employment as a Home Guard salary. It’s the phone that allows her virtual lovers, as imagined by the narrator, as opposed to the physicality of the earlier generation, people with whom the narrator identifies at times, as shown by the moving point of view of his story, from first to third and back again, so that we can almost imagine a split personality in the narrator, perhaps also an attempt to separate himself from one who is capable of murder.

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