“Haunting, with an immense tenderness . . . Unforgettable” JOHN BERGER
“Profoundly moving” Evening Standard
“A brilliant and moving first novel” Times Literary Supplement
“I’m recommending When Memory Dies to everyone” Arthur C. Clarke
The Buddha taught that to live is to experience suffering. Few family sagas, especially first ones, have captured this aspect of suffering and so many other truths in as lyric a fashion as When Memory Dies.
Through the viewpoints of three generations of a Sri Lankan family (taking the reader from 1920 through the 1980s), Sivanandan explores a culture destroyed first by colonization, then through the ethnic divisions that are released when the country achieves independence.
The family, which lives at a level of poverty that makes survival a constant struggle, must also balance love for one another with a deep love of their homeland. Without bending to romanticism or proselytization, the author evokes a compelling and very human story of a lost country. It is a vision as beautifully told as it is unrelenting in its devotion to truth. In the process, the work also supplies a rich historic background to the often underreported news accounts of the massacres and upheavals in Sri Lanka.
**Winner of the Sagittarius Prize **Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize**