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This Divided Island

This Divided Island

Life, Death, and the Sri Lankan War

Sammanth Subramanian

Thomas Dunne Books



Samanth Subramanian has written about politics, culture, and history for the New York Times and the New Yorker. Now, Subramanian takes on a complex topic that touched millions of lives in This Divided Island.
In the summer of 2009, the leader of the dreaded Tamil Tiger guerrillas was killed, bringing to an end the civil war in Sri Lanka. For nearly thirty years, the war's fingers had reached everywhere, leaving few places, and fewer people, untouched. What happens to the texture of life in a country that endures such bitter conflict? What happens to the country's soul? Subramanian gives us an extraordinary account of the Sri Lankan war and the lives it changed. Taking us to the ghosts of summers past, he tells the story of Sri Lanka today. Through travels and conversations, he examines how people reconcile themselves to violence, how the powerful become cruel, and how victory can be put to the task of reshaping memory and burying histories.


WE HAD LEFT Colombo too early for me to remain awake on the drive up into hill country. Just past 5 a.m., the streets glowed of sodium-lit emptiness, and Uncle W.’s hatchback skimmed eastwards in silence. It was late August, and...

Praise for This Divided Island

“A powerful book...Anyone interested in Sri Lanka, its past, present and future, must read this book.” —The Times of India

“There is only one word to describe this book: it's a masterpiece, a Book of the Year, even possibly the decade” —India Today (India)

“Pick up This Divided Island, it'll be one of the best books you'll pick up this year.” —The Asian Age (India)

“To integrate these interviews into a broader historical narrative as seamlessly as subramanian has done is a rare event.” —Scroll (India)

“Like Philip Gourevitch's account of the genocide in Rwanda, We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families, this is a superbly reported book. ” —Business Standard  (India)


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