A Passage North (Hardback)Anuk Arudpragasam (author)
One man’s journey through the vividly realised landscape of Sri Lanka’s troubled north in search of answers becomes a voyage into memory and trauma in this illuminating novel that confronts, with great insight and sensitivity, the legacy of the Sri Lankan civil war for communities, individuals and a nation’s divided cultural identity.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.
Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2022.
It begins with a message: a telephone call informing Krishan that his grandmother's former care-giver, Rani, has died in unexpected circumstances, 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 activist he fell in love with four years earlier while living in Delhi, bringing with it the stirring of distant memories and desires. As Krishan makes the long journey by train from Colombo into the war-torn Northern Province for the funeral, so begins a passage into the soul of an island devastated by violence.
Written with precision and grace, A Passage North is a poignant memorial for the missing and the dead, and a luminous meditation on time, consciousness, and the lasting imprint of the connections we make with others.
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 435 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 21 mm
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
Anuk Arudpragasam's A Passage North is 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
Mesmerizing, political, intimate, unafraid - this is a superb novel, a novel that pays such close, intelligent attention to the world we all live in * Sunjeev Sahota *
A Passage North is written with scrupulous attention to nuance and detail. Its world is the deeply-layered, rich interior of its protagonist's mind but also contemporary Sri Lanka itself, war-scarred, traumatized. While the narrative is filled with images of violence and loss, at its center is an exquisite form of noticing, a way of rendering consciousness and handling time that connects Arudpragasam to the great novelists of the past -- Colm Toibin
A novel of tragic power and uncommon beauty. In his depiction of the processes through which history sculpts human fate, Anuk Arudpragasam achieves something akin to grace I am also pasting below the full round-up of praise, which is mostly American, but I am still hoping that some of my Brits might come good... -- Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
A beautiful, urgent novel of displacement, love and atrocity set on a single long journey. Arudpragasam has achieved something extraordinary here - a philosophical novel that draws you in through the sheer depth and elegance of its ideas and expression until you feel like you're stowing away in the protagonist's mind -- Luke Kennard
Anuk Arudpragasam has a graceful way of unfolding a sentence to its fullest dimensions. Concerned with whether and how the calamitous forces of love and trauma can be accommodated among life's daily exigencies, A Passage North is a novel of consciousness alert to the turning of history and the micronavigations of bodies in a room. I've rarely read something so exquisitely alive -- Naoise Dolan
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 ways * Kirkus *
A young man ruminates about Sri Lankan history and his own life in the introspective latest from Arudpragasam...Readers who enjoy contemplative, Sebaldian narratives will appreciate this * Publishers Weekly *
The author of The Story of a Brief Marriage casts a spell in his sumptuous new novel... reminiscent of Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost * Oprah Daily's Best Books of July *
Profound... hypnotic... Arudpragasam explores the desire for independence that enflamed the decades-long civil war, the violence that ensued and the emotional scars that refuse to heal * Observer *
It can take just two novels to establish a writer as one of the most individual minds of their generation... With his new novel, a revelatory exploration of the aftermath of war, Arudpragasam cements his reputation... [An] extraordinary and often illuminating novel * Financial Times *
A disquieting and contemplative book that seeks to comprehend the incomprehensible... With considered thoughts on everything from smoking to meditation, life and death, [Arudpragasam''s] new novel is a treasure trove of insight and wisdom, a reminder of "how large and unknown the world was, how much it seemed to contain" * Irish Times *
A beautiful, meditative book... so moving * Literary Friction *
It is an incredibly introspective work. Through the particularities of Krishan's experience and inner life, Arudpragasam seamlessly unfurls ruminations on intimacy, trauma, and the passage of time * Paris Review *
Arudpragasam is a patient and meticulous observer. * Guardian *
A Passage North is a singular novel by a singular writer and richly deserves its place on the Booker longlist... His prose manages that paradoxical feat of feeling urgent without seeming in a hurry. The long sentences, the free-associative paragraphs, the digressions into general subjects, all add up to something that is, for once, greater than the sum of its parts * Telegraph *
A sinuously discursive meditation on a nation's collective trauma... elegiac * TLS *
A book of striking, fluid elegance... Arudpragasam's technique [...] is the strongest and most considered on the [Booker Prize] shortlist * Spectator *
An arresting and poignant reflection on the legacy of civil war -- Books of the Year * Financial Times *
The individual and collective trauma of Sri Lanka's drawn-out civil war thrums as a backbeat through this Booker-shortlisted second novel... A thoughtful, introspective novel that journeys inwards, even as it traverses physically scarred landscapes -- Books of the Year * The Times and Sunday Times *
A haunting work about the power of memory and how we learn to see the world -- 100 must-read books of 2021 * TIME *
You can see Arudpragasam's progression as a writer; the book is mostly inward looking, meditative and completely immersive. He blends the past and present almost seamlessly, making for an even better novel than its predecessor * NPR *
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ReviewsView all Sign In To Write A Review
“A challenging but immensely rewarding read”
This is a remarkable book, and one that you will either love as profound or dismiss as pretentious. The plot is wafer-thin - a man journeys to the funeral of his grandmother's carer, and reflects upon a previous... More
“A powerful introspectively philosophical novel and worthy addition to the Booker longlist”
Longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize.
This is a philosophical novel yet one which is very readable if approached at an appropriately thoughtful manner and slow speed.
It is one which places us deep in the mind of a... More
I really enjoyed spending my time in Krishan's company, listening to his meditations on life & death, ageing & violence, love & attachment, trauma, memory and letting go of them.
This book felt... More
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