The Story of A Brief Marriage

The Story of A Brief Marriage

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize

"Brave...Brilliant...This is a book that makes one kneel before the elegance of the human spirit and the yearning that is at the essence of every life." -- The New York Times Book Review

"One of the best books I have read in years." --Colm Toibin

Two and a half decades into a devastating civil war, Sri Lanka's Tamil minority is pushed inexorably towards the coast by the advancing army. Amongst the evacuees is Dinesh, whose world has contracted to a makeshift camp where time is measured by the shells that fall around him like clockwork. Alienated from family, home, language, and body, he exists in a state of mute acceptance, numb to the violence around him, till he is approached one morning by an old man who makes an unexpected proposal: that Dinesh marry his daughter, Ganga. Marriage, in this world, is an attempt at safety, like the beached fishing boat under which Dinesh huddles during the bombings. As a couple, they would be less likely to be conscripted to fight for the rebels, and less likely to be abused in the case of an army victory. Thrust into this situation of strange intimacy and dependence, Dinesh and Ganga try to come to terms with everything that has happened, hesitantly attempting to awaken to themselves andto one another before the war closes over them once more.

Anuk Arudpragasam's The Story of a Brief Marriage is a feat of extraordinary sensitivity and imagination, a meditation on the fundamental elements of human existence--eating, sleeping, washing, touching, speaking--that give us direction and purpose, even as the world around us collapses. Set over the course of a single day and night, this unflinching debut confronts marriage and war, life and death, bestowing on its subjects the highest dignity, however briefly.

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250072405
Branch Call Number: FIC Arudp
Characteristics: 193 pages ; 22 cm

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m
mclarjh
Aug 28, 2017

The prose is deliberate, almost laborious. The diction and register of the protagonist don't match the circumstances. Doesn't seem believable or authentic.

u
uncommonreader
Jun 29, 2017

This book is set in the last days of a civil war when the government troops have pushed the rebels to a small area along the coast. Although not explicitly stated, it is presumably the story of the Tamils. The story takes place over one night and one day in which a young man and a young woman, both of whom have lost everything, come together. Some parts of the book, although harrowing, are very well-written; other parts, which are mostly reflection, do not succeed as well. In the end, it is the story of dignity found in the midst of horror.

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