Published by: Mawenzi House Publishers Ltd.
Imprint: Mawenzi House Publishers
Sales Date: 2023-12-06
Available: December 2023
200 Pages, 5.75 x 8.75 in
Not Yet Published
The KANAVUCCHIRAI quintet develop the context of Sri Lanka's tragic civil war. As the youth in the island village of Nainativu realize that their education and prospects are being curtailed by an increasingly Sinhala majoritarian nationalist government, they begin to rise up in opposition. Volumes 1 and 2, through its main characters, the young woman Rajalakshmi and her betrothed, Suthan, described the growth of the armed struggle from the 1980s onwards as the young people sail to Tamil Nadu in India to join the resistance.
Volumes 3 and 4 return to the micro-environment of Nainativu and the main island of Sri Lanka and the Tamil struggle as it takes shape there. Volume 5 returns to the surviving characters from the first two volumes, and serves more as an afterward that places their story in a global context, as international actors enter the scene. These novels also bring in other characters that speak to the different political and ideological movements at the time: both militant and pacifist, leftist and nationalist. Devakanthan shows how different political movements drew inspiration from each other, and how divisions appeared and grew within what was first seen as an unshakeable organization.
Devakanthan's characters are richly detailed, both male and female protagonists endowed with internal lives. The quintet thoughtfully and sensitively narrates the story of simple men and women trapped within a national struggle. As a whole it describes how a movement united by lofty goals begins to fall apart, as disagreements appear and former allies go their separate ways.
The quintet won the Government of Tamil Nadu Novel of the Year Award (1998) for THIRUPPADAIYAATCHI (His Sacred Army), and the Tamil Literary Garden's Best Novel Award (Canada, 2014).