Claudia Hyles

The deadline for this review was 15 August, India’s Independence Day, freedom at midnight in 1947 for India and Pakistan (whose independence is celebrated on 14 August). The British euphemistically called it a ‘transfer of power’. The subsequent division was termed Partition, an anodyne definition of the act of severing ...

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Ruins by Rajith Savanadasa

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October 2016, no. 385

Ruins is the impressive début novel of Rajith Savanadasa, born in Sri Lanka and now living in Melbourne. He is founder and primary contributor to Open City Stories, a website ...

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Amitav Ghosh has spent more than ten years writing the Ibis trilogy, his fictional account of the turbulent years leading to the First Opium War of 1839–42. Flood of Fire follows Sea of Poppies (2008) and River of Smoke (2011). It is unnecessary to have read the earlier books, though reuniting with some of the characters is enjo ...

Two government acts shaped Tina Faulk’s life: Ceylon’s 1956 Official Language Policy Act, known as the Sinhala Only Act, and Australia’s Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, better known as the White Australia policy. The first virtually disenfranchised not only Faulk’s Burgher community, but also Sinhalese and Tamil middle-class élites, whose primary langu ...

In 515 bce, Scylax, explorer and storyteller, sets sail from Caspatyrus in King Darius’s empire. Eclipsing time, this antique glimpse shifts to an archaeological dig in Turkey in 1914, one that is abandoned when war breaks out.In the service of ‘king and country’, lives change immeasurably. Vivian Rose Spencer exc ...

The Memory of Salt by Alice Melike Ülgezer

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October 2012, no. 345

Alice Melike Ülgezer’s début novel is both exotic and familiar: a story of journeys, physical and philosophical, of a family with its roots in Istanbul and Melbourne. The first of these is a short ferry crossing of the Bosporus taken by Ali, a young woman (or is she a young man? gender seems immaterial here) from Melbourne who is in Istanbul to visit her father ...

This year’s Jaipur Literature Festival (20–24 January) more than lived up to the Indian Ministry of Tourism’s slogan – ‘Incredible India’.

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The voices of Subhash Jaireth’s three fictional autobiographies within To Silence are those of historical figures. Kabir (1440–1518) was a mystic poet associated with the reformist Bhakti or Devotional Movement in medieval India. An illiterate weaver, he rejected idolatry and caste, and his principally Hindu philosophy showed significant Islamic influence. Maria Chekhova (1863–1957), the clever and well-educated sister of Anton Chekhov, selflessly devoted more than half her long life to running the Chekhov House–Museum at Yalta. The third voice is that of Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639), an Italian philosopher, theologian, astrologer, and poet whose brave, unorthodox views earned him almost thirty years in prison.

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