A Passage North: Book summary and reviews of A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam

A Passage North

by Anuk Arudpragasam

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam X
A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A young man journeys into Sri Lanka's war-torn north in this searing novel of longing, loss, and the legacy of war from the author of The Story of a Brief Marriage.

A Passage North begins with a message from out of the blue: a telephone call informing Krishan that his grandmother's caretaker, Rani, has died under unexpected circumstances—found at the bottom of a well in her village in the north, her neck broken by the fall. The news arrives on the heels of an email from Anjum, an impassioned yet aloof activist Krishnan fell in love with years before while living in Delhi, stirring old memories and desires from a world he left behind.

As Krishan makes the long journey by train from Colombo into the war-torn Northern Province for Rani's funeral, so begins an astonishing passage into the innermost reaches of a country. At once a powerful meditation on absence and longing, as well as an unsparing account of the legacy of Sri Lanka's thirty-year civil war, this procession to a pyre "at the end of the earth" lays bare the imprints of an island's past, the unattainable distances between who we are and what we seek.

Written with precision and grace, Anuk Arudpragasam's masterful novel is an attempt to come to terms with life in the wake of devastation, and a poignant memorial for those lost and those still alive.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] novel of philosophic suspense, one whose reader shivers in anticipation not of what will happen next but of where the next thought will lead. A luminously intelligent, psychologically intricate novel—slow in always rewarding way." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Arudpragasam's writing is purposefully dense, intentionally layering tangential stories with minute details to illuminate the interconnectedness of past and present. Intricately written prose that navigates sorrow, exclusion, and national identity." - Library Journal

"Overall...the elegant descriptions of Krishan's sentiments helps smooth over the slow pace and spare plot...Readers who enjoy contemplative, Sebaldian narratives will appreciate this." - Publishers Weekly

"Anuk Arudpragasam's first book already showed what a fine novelist he was and this second novel provides proof, if any were needed, that he is a major writer, vastly accomplished. Life is short but remembering is long. In the aftermath of war, Anuk Arudpragasam'­­s rich, rewarding sentences return the reader to all that is living." - Amitava Kumar, author of Immigrant, Montana

"A profound and disquieting account of the making of a self, of the pressures of history, desire, will, and chance that determine the shape of a life. It's difficult to think of comparisons for Arudpragasam's work among current English-language writers; one senses, reading his two extraordinary novels, a new mastery coming into being." - Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness and What Belongs to You

"Anuk Arudpragasam is an artist of revelations. In A Passage North, he continues to map, with beauty, grace, and fire, the responsibilities we carry in a world that is forever on the brink. This is a novel as both an elegy and a love song, not only for a place, but for the souls, living and dead, who are bound to that place—what an unforgettable and perfect reading experience, and one that unearths truths, relentlessly, magically." - Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters and Run Me to Earth

This information about A Passage North shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Anuk Arudpragasam

Anuk Arudpragasam was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He studied philosophy in the United States, receiving a doctorate at Columbia University. His first novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, was translated into seven languages, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. He currently divides his time between India and Sri Lanka.

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