When Memory Dies

When Memory Dies

A powerful three-generational saga of a Sri Lankan family’s search for coherence and continuity in a country broken by colonial occupation and riven by ethnic wars.

‘An extraordinary storyteller who has total control over his material’ Athol Fugard

‘A brilliant and moving first novel. With a grandeur reminiscent of the great Indonesian novelist, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Sivanandan takes the reader through three generations of a Sri Lankan family. As we move from the days of the hartal in 1920 through independence in 1948 to the neo-liberal pangs of the 1980s, Sri Lankan communalism gathers force like a conquering flood’ TLS

‘This is not just a book about Sri Lanka. The struggles it touches upon, both moral and political, face us all: the battle between our hunger for love or learning or success and our need, even passion, for integrity. This is a book of, and about, many lifetimes’ Melissa Benn, Independent

‘This rich novel, peopled with unforgettable heroines and heroes, will haunt the reader’s mind’ David Rose, Observer

‘Profoundly moving … Sivanandan triumphs in his evocation of a beautiful country he perceives as doomed. His love for the country he has lost is the driving passion of his work’ Evening Standard

‘There is no rallying cry here, no dwelling on the tragedies of the individual, only an exhortation to the memory and constant effort. Sivanandan’s sensibilities and instincts are endlessly humane, generous and perceptive’ Literary Review

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20 Sep 2007
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About the author

  • A Sivanandan

    A. Sivanandan

    A. Sivanandan is a highly influential thinker on race, racism, globalisation and resistance. Since 1972, he has been the director of the Institute of Race Relations and the editor of Race & Class, which set the policy agenda on ethnicity and race in the UK and worldwide. Sivanandan has been writing for over forty years.

    Titles by A. Sivanandan