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Brotherless Night: A Novel

Brotherless Night: A Novel

History is an accumulation of stories, filtered and molded into something resembling the truth, but often lacking in nuance and vitality—exsanguinated. In Brotherless Night, V.V. Ganeshananthan reminds us again and again that history begins as the stories of individuals, those who have chosen to take part, and those swept up in its chaos. That conflict is the violence of war as well as the heartrending dissolution of families and friendships and the internal turmoil behind everyday decisions. Brotherless Night tells the story of the early years of the Sri Lankan civil war, in the most intimate, personal sense of "story." It follows Sashi, a young woman dreaming of medical school, whose life shifts and sways in the current of war. Ganeshananthan tells her story with such deep complexity that the reader is drawn into Sashi's life, but also into the ways that her life and the lives of those around her are carried off on currents that the wider world may see as mere ripples and eddies. I will not soon forget it.

Rachel C.

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Author V. V. Ganeshananthan
Publisher Random House
Publication Date 2023-01-03
Section New Hardcover - Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Rachel C.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780812997156

“An achingly moving portrait of a world full of turmoil, but one in which human connections and shared stories can teach us how—and as importantly, why—to survive.” —Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

A courageous young woman tries to protect her dream of becoming a doctor as civil war devastates Sri Lanka in this searing novel.

Jaffna, 1981. Sixteen-year-old Sashi wants to become a doctor. But over the next decade, as a vicious civil war subsumes Sri Lanka, her dream takes a different path as she watches those around her, including her four beloved brothers, get swept up in violent political ideologies and their consequences. She must ask herself: Is it possible for anyone to move through life without doing harm?

Sashi begins working as a medic at a field hospital for the militant Tamil Tigers, who, following years of state discrimination and violence, are fighting for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. But after the Tigers murder one of her teachers and the arrival of Indian peacekeepers brings further atrocities, she turns to another one of her professors, a feminist and dissident who invites Sashi to join her in a dangerous, secret project of documenting human rights violations as a mode of civil resistance.

Set during the early years of Sri Lanka’s thirty-year civil war, and based on sixteen years of research, Brotherless Night is a heartrending portrait of one woman’s moral journey and a testament to both the enduring impact of war and the bonds of home.

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