A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam is
long listed for the Booker Prize. The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to works by writers of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.
Anuk Arudpragasam is a Sri Lankan Tamil novelist who writes in English and Tamil. He was born in Colombo and currently lives between Sri Lanka and India.
His latest novel, A Passage North, attempts to air the wounds of the country’s civil war and refuses to succumb to collective amnesia.
Anuk studied philosophy in the United States, receiving a doctorate at Columbia University. His first novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, set during the last stages of the Sri Lankan civil war, was translated into seven languages, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.
Written with precision and grace, Anuk Arudpragasam’s masterful new novel ‘A passage north’ is an attempt to come to terms with life in the wake of devastation, and a poignant memorial for those lost and those still alive.
A Passage North begins with a message from out of the blue: a telephone call informing Krishan that his grandmother’s caretaker, Rani, has died under unexpected circumstances — found at the bottom of a well in her village in the north, her neck broken by the fall. The news arrives on the heels of an email from Anjum, an impassioned yet aloof activist Krishnan fell in love with years before while living in Delhi, stirring old memories and desires from a world he left behind.
As Krishan makes the long journey by train from Colombo into the war-torn Northern Province for Rani’s funeral, so begins an astonishing passage into the innermost reaches of a country. At once a powerful meditation on absence and longing, and an unsparing account of the legacy of Sri Lanka’s thirty-year civil war, this procession to a pyre ‘at the end of the earth’ lays bare the imprints of an island’s past, the unattainable distances between who we are and what we seek.