“Brotherless Night” by V.V. Ganeshananthan
One increasingly hears loose talk in the United States that it will soon be time for a (second) Civil War. “Brotherless Night” by V.V. Ganeshananthan ought to be required reading before any misguided souls are allowed to take their next step.
The Sri Lankan Civil War began in earnest in 1983 and concluded with a brutally forced truce in 2009 that is still subject to flare-ups. The combatants were the ruling Sinhalese and the minority oppressed Tamil. Casualty figures vary, but the brutal fighting cost as many as 100,000 civilian lives, resulted in another 50,000 combatants’ deaths, and caused millions to be displaced. The events have been under-reported and remain poorly understood.
Ganeshananthan does a remarkable job filling in the blanks. ”Brotherless Night” exemplifies the very best historical fiction where facts are seamlessly woven into a narrative with fully believable characters who are plausible participants at pivotal moments.
“Brotherless Night” is rich in so many ways. It is an ode to Feminism, highlighting the essential centrality of women in peace and war. It is a love song to doctors, medics, teachers, and mentors who muster courage when called upon, even when their own lives are at stake. It is an homage to great literature. It is heartbreaking as war and conflict are always heartbreaking. Civil War tears families apart, disrupts lives of young and old, and only results in losers.
“Brotherless Night” is a marvelous, always engaging, and enriching read.
A word of caution: the depictions in several scenes are fairly graphic and potentially triggering.
Thanks to Penguin and NetGalley for the eARC.