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The Story of a Brief Marriage (Hardcover)

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In this beautiful, brazen debut novel, Arudpragasam intimately explores the human condition through a day in the life of Dinesh, a young refugee of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Asked to marry an older man’s only daughter to provide an illusion of protection from the armies and the shellings, Dinesh accepts and in so doing must reacquaint himself with the act of living, instead of merely surviving. It is bone-deep introspective and worth the devastating read. 

— Melinda, Head Book Buyer

Description


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 and to 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.

About the Author


Anuk Arudpragasam is from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and is currently completing a dissertation in philosophy at Columbia University. He writes in Tamil and English. The Story of a Brief Marriage is his first novel.


Coverage from NPR



Product Details
ISBN: 9781250072405
ISBN-10: 1250072409
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Pages: 208
Language: English

 

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