Author and journalist Rohini Mohan will read from her critically acclaimed, engrossing nonfiction book The Seasons of Trouble, which The Economist calls 'poetic' and NPR counts as among 2014's Best Reads. This classic piece of reportage was five years in the making, and follows three people -- a former child soldier, a disappeared young man and his mother -- as they remake their lives in postwar Sri Lanka. A discussion will follow the reading.
The Seasons of Trouble is a nonfiction account of three ordinary people caught up in the aftermath of the brutal three-decade-long civil war in Sri Lanka. It is a startling, brutal, yet beautifully written debut from a prize-winning journalist. It gripping piece of reportage, five years in the making, and a compassionate examination of the corrosive effect of conflict on a people.
Rohini Mohan is an award-winning journalist who writes on politics and human rights. For more than 10 years, she has reported for Tehelka, The Caravan, The Hindu, CNN-IBN, The New York Times, Al Jazeera America, Foreign Policy and The Economic Times. She is based in Bangalore.
More about the book:
For three decades, Sri Lanka’s civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas in a fierce battle that swept up about 300,000 civilians and killed more than 40,000. More than a million had been displaced by the conflict, and the resilient among them still dared to hope. But the next five years changed everything.
Rohini Mohan’s searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation looks beyond the heroism of wartime survival to reveal the creeping violence of the everyday. When city-bred Sarva is dragged off the streets by state forces, his middle-aged mother, Indra, searches for him through the labyrinthine Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mugil, a former child soldier, deserts the Tigers in the thick of war to protect her family.
Having survived, they struggle to live as the Sri Lankan state continues to attack minority Tamils and Muslims, frittering away the era of peace. Sarva flees the country, losing his way – and almost his life – in a bid for asylum. Mugil stays, breaking out of the refugee camp to rebuild her family and an ordinary life in the village she left as a girl. But in her tumultuous world, desires, plans, and people can be snatched away in a moment.
The book is published by Harper Collins in India and Verso in UK and US.
“A modern tragedy of truly epic proportions. Haunting and unforgettable.”
Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer at The New Yorker
'Poetic... thoroughly absorbing.'
'Intense & powerful, engrossing and engaging... touches as well as unsettles the heart.'
'Gripping and profoundly moving,.. an astonishing feat'
NPR's Best of 2014
'A remarkable feat of empathy'
Slate's Overlooked Books of 2014
'A tour de force of reportage that glows with emotional intensity'
'...does what novels do best: it allows us into the hearts and minds of people who might be very different from us'
Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy
'Vivid... the prose is unflinchingly precise'
The Hindu Business Line
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