This is a one of kind book and hence, I will not mention any characters in my review. The book reminds me of another book I read this year “The Nine-Chambered Heart” by Janice Pariat.
Half Gods is all about the lives of people who survived the freedom struggle in Sri Lanka forcing Tamilians to recede back to India and the subsequent declaration of Sinhalese as their National Language. The book has diverse characters, in terms of their fate. During the revolution, few chose to run away to Western countries and start a new life, but they have never felt at home. The longing for their birthland has always made them live a half content life.
The struggles of people who didn’t leave during the turmoil had a totally different experience, especially the ones who weren’t considered SriLankan citizens anymore. Losing family members during the fights was a constant, some were killed, others were kidnapped or disappeared overnight.
The trajectory of character growth throughout this series of interconnected short stories can only be described as random, chaotic and deeply unnerving. The plot follows a classic pattern of describing towns and cities with the help of the characters, their day to day activities, but mostly traumatizing memories.
The stories also talk about families who have a constant wedge among them, because of multiple reasons and experiences. They all seek the love, comfort, and affection of their home because everything is a mess, and its only people we can blame for all of it.
Half Gods is a book that everyone should pick up, even though the plot gets messy at times because of so many details and many more characters. This is a book that will mean something different to each and every reader but will win over your heart nevertheless.
As her 1st novel it was quite amazing. The first story really didn't attract me because it was long and for a long time i tried to find out what the [purpose of the story was. But after finishing it, to my dismay, i didn't really like it. Then after probably 2 weeks i picked up this book again and couldn't put it down. The stories are loosely based on the Mahabharata and i think if you have read the Epic, then you can understand the relation between the two. I felt the inter-linkage of some stories were more deep with the Epic than another. My favourite stories were 'A story of happiness' and 'When we were children'. I think her writing style developed slowly throughout her storybook and made me enjoy her stories more. There was a touch of magic realism in the stories which will make you wonder about all the possibilities in how a particular story can end. The characters in her stories are very interesting and they have a past of their own. They try run away for a new beginning but they all get caught up with their past! The stories are sad and you have to understand the undertones present in it . You have to feel all the emotions the author is trying to portray through her words and then you can truly enjoy the process of reading the book!
(I voluntarily reviewed a physical copy of the book for For The Love of Fictional Worlds)
Half Gods is a collection of short stories interlocked with each other but with a common foundation of hope, despair and faith.
All the stories also have the one theme in common – all their lives have been influenced by the long lasting civil war in Sri Lanka – it’s about the consequences of fleeing that war, which has its own intended consequence on the psyche of the person and the consequence of staying in a country where you are either unwelcome in the country you call home or are discriminated in the country where you were supposed to find refuge – and the long lasting effects of this on their future generations.
The author has done a brilliant job describing in stark detail of the raw, unadulterated fear combined with the hope through different eyes and experiences that stay with you long after you are done with book – there is no order to the stories, they are messy but what part of life isn’t? And the author definitely delivers in a way that sticks with you, if you keep an open mind
Interlacing the telling of war, displacement and loss with magical realism create a stunning and magical effect. This is a book of stories that move around families and tell us the true meaning of those relations in the best way possible. This book becomes more than a collection of stories with deep connections running in between the novel. Not all of the 10 stories soar equally but they are all beautifully written. What surprised me, even more, was how much I felt these writings to be experienced even being a debut book. That feeling gave me a reflection on how the life of the author has been with the connection of writing. I'm pretty sure when you will read the author's characters their voices are clear and distinct. I won't go on every story to stop the risk of any spoilers jumping out, but this surely is a book that I want everyone to read. There will be moments of sadness, smile and simple silence in your mind.