Reading Brotherless Night

It’s a little strange, reading Sugi Ganeshananthan‘s new novel, _Brotherless Night_, while I’m deliberately spending a month cooking Sri Lankan food every day. Strange, but also right, to read her book with the memory of milk rice and pol sambol still lingering on my tongue.

This passage, from the first chapter, describes Jaffna market, which was burned by the government police in 1981:

“In that direction, beyond the six of them coming home to my mother and me and Aran’s forgotten birthday dinner, the dark scent of burnt wood clogged the air at Jaffna market. I loved the market, and often chose to help my mother by going there. I could have drawn a map of it as it stood before it burned. I knew where to find everything: the tidy packets of fragrant curry leaves; the sinuous heaps of yellow-green snake gourds, burnished eggplants, long green beans, and hot chilies; toasted cashews; the ground pockmarked with remnants of betel leaf; the betel itself; the king coconuts halved and ready with spoons carved from their shells; the neat rows of untracked eggs; the dark canisters of gingelly and coconut oil; the bloody halal meats; the barrels of brown rice, red rice, white rice, lentils, curry powder, and flour; the men yelling, “Vadai-vadai-vadai-vadai-vadai-vadai-vadai,” as they hawked snacks; the beggar who collected coins and scraps of food by a well in a filched metal cup.”

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