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BOOK REVIEW-Andrew Fidel Fernando Upon a sleepless Isle Travels in Sri Lanka by bus and trishaw Picador India - 2019

3 October 2019 01:22 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The author has dedicated this book to Fidelia and Sarath. His book has twelve well written chapters and at the end an epilogue and acknowledgements. Also has a map of  Sri Lanka. 

The author in his first book in the context of a travel diary has brought in other factors. To my mind he is not merely a traveller in and around our island home but also a pilgrim.   

In a sense this book is autobiographical. He writes about his Catholic Tamil grandmother who was concerned about the author wanting to become a journalist for journalists can be either assassinated or persecuted. In this context the author has told his grandmother that he wants to be a cricket journalist and had accepted an assignment to be a commentator at a cricket match. Unfortunately for him and for us who loved cricket, that match had to be abandoned because of bad weather.   

He writes about his visit to a couple and their family whom he had known. He also refers to his visit to his roots in this country. He also refers to his wife Erena who is from New Zealand and works in Colombo. She used to visit him during some weekends. For obvious reasons he used to be excited about her visits and after she leaves he used to be somewhat emotional and depressed. Therefore he has mentioned her in a very special manner in his acknowledgements.  As a Sri Lankan he has made his comments about Sri Lanka’ s political and economic state of affairs. To support his thinking he has quoted one of  Sri Lanka’s historians and Peradeniya’s History Don Lorna Dewaraja.  

One of Sri Lanka’s writers Shehan Karunatilleke has said that  this is the author’s first book and it is a good book for a foreigner  and a good reminder for Sri Lankans as to why we are still here

Unfortunately he has had two bad experiences. The first one at a public library where he was disturbed by a couple despite the librarian checking on them. Therefore he had to leave the library and buy a book to do his research. The second one at a well known hotel resort where because he being a Sri Lankan was refused food. To my mind although the British left our country in 1948 the Union Jack and other flags seem to fly becasue of what I call in the language of the Bible “filthy lucre’.   

Wherever the author travelled he used to make friends and also study the area and then move on.   

One of  Sri Lanka’s writers Shehan Karunatilleke has said that this is the author’s first book and it is a good book for a foreigner and a good reminder for Sri Lankans as to why we are still here.   

If the author had been to other parts of the world, I am of the mind that he should write books about those travels.   

In his acknowledgements the author has begun thanking his parents for teaching him how to write an essay when at school and also thanked all others.   

There are parts in the book which I have not written about, which the reader of this book should discover.   

To my mind this is a must read. Therefore to those who will read this Review and this Book, I say “Happy Reading”.  

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