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Anuk Arudpragasam Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Story of a Brief Marriage (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Passage North (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Anuk Arudpragasam is a bestselling Sri Lankan novelist who pens his novels in Tamil and English.
The author published “The Story of a Brief Marriage” his debut novel in 2016 under Granta Books/Flatiron Books. The novel went on to become so popular that it has since been translated into Italian, French, Dutch, German, Mandarin, and Czech.
The work which was set in the penultimate years of the Civil War in Sri Lanka was the winner of the South Asian Literature DSC Prize and made the German Internationaler Literaturpreis and the Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist.
In 2021, he made the shortlist for the Booker Prize for his novel “A Passage North.”

As for his early beginnings, Anuk Arudpragasam was born to Tamil parents in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. He was privileged to have been born into a rich family which had its roots in Sri Lanka’s northeast.
Given that he lived in the capital, he never experienced or came into contact with the civil war that engulfed the northeast between 1983 and 2009.

As for writing, even though no one from his family loved literary pursuits, they encouraged him to read when he was still very young.

Still, he never read much until he was in his mid-teens and only developed a taste for philosophical literature which he used to get at various bookshops in Colombo.

When he graduated from high school he moved to the US to attend Staford University aged 18. Following his graduation from Stanford, he moved to India, and for about a year, he lived in the state of Tamil Nadu.
He would then enroll at Columbia University where he studied philosophy for his doctorate and graduated in 2019.

Anuk Arudpragasam had a vision of one day becoming an author when he was about 19 or 20, which is when he realized that one could make a living as an author.

During his adolescent years, he found refuge from the toxic environment in school by reading philosophy.

Like many Tamils living in Colombo, he was seldom allowed out of the house for fear that he could be detained or stopped which meant he spent much of his time indoors.

It was only after he got into university in the United States that he got into the reading of fiction in earnest. In the United States, he could walk around freely and loved spending a lot of time reading in the library.
The one book that changed everything was “The Man Without Qualities” by Robert Musil. The work is full of all manner of essay-like digressions often on subjects bordering on the philosophical.

However, since they are located in a narrative and literary context they tend to be more highly charged as compared to philosophical works.
The novel helped her understand that what she was very interested in was better done through a work of fiction such as a novel rather than a philosophical work.

Other literary influences in Anuk Arudpragasam’s work include Andrei Platonov’s novel “Soul,” which he wrote in Russian but was subsequently translated into English which he has read several times.
He believes that Platonov is an excellent author who writes with real tenderness, even as he has a yearning sensibility combined with an earnestness that is very empathetic.
Anuk also loves the works of Peter Nadas the Hungarian author and particularly his novel “A Book of Memories.”

In the work, the author goes deep into the inner life corporeal elements such as pauses, gaze, hesitation, gesture, sex, posture, defecation, gait, urination, and eye contact among others.
It was from the author that he finds much of the inspiration for the psychology of body in his novels.

Anuk Arudpragasm’s novel “The Story of a Brief Marriage” is set 25 years into Sri Lanka’s devastating civil war.

The Tamil minority is steadily being pushed toward the coast by the country’s advancing army,

Dinesh is one of the evacuees whose entire world is nothing more than the makeshift camp in which she measures time by the many shells falling all around with stunning regularity.
Alienated from body, family, language, and home, he lives in a state of mute acceptance of the horrors.

But one morning, he is approached by an elderly man proposing that he marry Ganga his daughter. Marriage in the horrors of their world is trying to attain a measure of safety just like the beached boat under which Dinesh hides when the shells begin to fall.
As a married couple, they would most likely be exempted from having to be drafted to go fight for the Tamil Tigers. They would also be less likely to be punished in case of a victory by the army.
Finding themselves in a situation of strange dependence and intimacy, Ganga and Dinesh try their best to deal with their circumstances.

Arudpragasam’s novel is a work of extraordinary imagination and sensitivity, and a meditation on the fundamentals of human life that give us purpose and direction, even if the world all around us is collapsing.

“A Passage North” by Anuk Arudpragasam is a novel that follows a young man on a very dangerous journey. Set in northern Sri Lanka it is a work of loss, longing, and the legacy of war that opens with an interesting message.

At the opening of the novel, Krishan gets a phone call informing him that Rani the caretaker to his grandmother has unexpectedly died. She had been found with her neck broken at the bottom of a well deep in the northern reaches of the country.
The news comes soon after he got an email from an aloof yet impassioned activist named Anjum whom he had fallen for while he lived in Delhi. The email and telephone call had stirred old desires and memories of a world he believed he had left behind.
Heading north into the war-torn regions of Sri Lanka to attend his grandmother’s funeral, he embarks on an interesting but dangerous journey into the deepest reaches of Sri Lanka.

The work is at once a powerful mediation on longing and absence in addition to being an insightful look into the legacy of the 30-year civil war in Sri Lanka.
It also lays bare the history of the island and the seemingly unbridgable gaps between what we seek and who we are.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Anuk Arudpragasam

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