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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize

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.

©2016 Anuk Arudpragasam (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“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, New York Times best-selling author of Brooklyn)

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Brief but Brilliant

The marriage and the novel are both brief; but the story is as long as civilization.

Behind the photos of refugees that we see in the news there are people trying to live lives. To do normal things. Brig things like marrying. Small things like having a meal together.

The grief is beyond tears.

Read this book! I mean, LISTEN!

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Depressing!

I get that this is a story about war and it's affect on the human psyche but I really did not need the multiple paragraphs going into detail about defecating and urinating. Not exactly enjoyable or enlightening reading.