The Seasons of Trouble: Life amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War

Rohini Mohan. Verso (Random, dist.), $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78168-600-3
The Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 with the government’s decisive defeat of the Tamil Tigers, but the wounds of the decades-long conflict are still fresh. In this harrowing and haunting work, Mohan, an investigative journalist with extensive experience in the subcontinent, follows three individuals from the island’s Tamil community as they try to pick up the pieces. She personalizes the regime’s policy of “diluting the Tamil population in the Vanni [the northern mainland] and preventing any future claims to a separate Tamil homeland.” As the army gained the upper hand against the militants, soldiers adopted scorched-earth tactics and took to abducting and torturing Tamil civilians. The rebels, in turn, kidnapped children from their own villages to send to the frontlines as cannon fodder. Of one of her subjects, who signed up for the Tigers while in high school, Mohan says, “in her seven years in the fighting force, she never held her breath again while pulling the trigger. But new faces did not replace the face of the first soldier.... She would never feel remorse for the killing of anyone, except him.” As Mohan shows, the survivors are deeply traumatized, and their stories offer no neat lessons or easy resolutions. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 10/21/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-78168-883-0
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