The New Vehicle

Authored by: Batuwangala Rahula

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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The novel from which this excerpt is taken deals with an underprivileged community , and what they do to survive. It follows a girl whose whole family was torn apart by an LTTE bomb and who also finds herself befriending a Tamil child she thinks is stranded in Colombo, who reminds her of the brother she lost. In her dilemma, questions like what makes ethnicity – if the bodies are the same, is it then the language that one speaks? – are delved into in this excerpt. Her cousin who cares for her is connected to the underworld that sustains politicians , and we learn of some of the activities that go on there. Faith is also criticized as being ridiculous here, by the motif of a grinding stone, a possible instrument of death, later being revered as a holy object. Another thing alluded to is the link between masculinity and violence , by pointing out how a gun and permission to inflict harm upon others, can make a boy, who had earlier wet himself in fear of being hit, now imagine himself a hero.

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