Reviews: Art, Literature, Drama

The art of reviews in Sri Lanka is dead. Most reviews are either sycophantic drivel or miss the point of the text entirely.In most cases, reviews are unfortunately both. What follows hopefully inspires a culture of reviews in Sri Lanka that is able to critically appreciate arts and culture in Sri Lanka.


More writing and reviews here.

Chitrasena, Art and Politics

Dorfman asks us how we should keep the past alive without becoming its prisoner. Chitrasena’s art and life is the answer. We can only hope that the lessons of his art, his life and his legacy will fertilise our own private and communal trysts with reconciling the past to the urgent and necessary construction of a more peaceful Sri Lanka. Written this way, we are all artists, using interplays of social and political relationships to create ways through which we can begin to imagine peace.

The Kalayathanaya’s importance in this regard cannot be underestimated. If its first avatar gave expression to a young nation’s voice in song, the new edifice must give strength to a new generation of artistes desirous of a Sri Lanka that celebrates cultural and artistic production in a context of peace.

This then, is Chitrasena’s lasting legacy that inspires us all – to see in ourselves the creativity to transcend cycles of violence and give birth instead to voices of peace.

Read the full review here.


Review of A Cause Untrue by David Blacker

Combining the pace of Forbes, the action of Ludlum and the imagination of Forsyth, Blacker’s intoxicating thriller is a technical tour de force. But to compare it against Western authors is an injustice – Blacker’s achievement lies in his ability to make what is essentially Sri Lankan into a thriller with global appeal. There is simply no comparable work of fiction by a Sri Lankan author.

Read the full review online here or download it here.


A conversation with David Blacker, author of A Cause Untrue

What made you join the SL Army at a time when there was all out war in the North and the East?

Ha ha. Here come the demons. I was brought up on war stories. My grandfather was a WW2 veteran, and a lot of those war stories were passed on second-hand to me by my father. My childhood was immersed in everything I could find on war, from comics to model aircraft to biographies and history. It was all I ever wanted to do. To see if I could handle what my heroes had. My younger brother and I grew up in an urban Christian home, and there wasn’t a lot of scope for adventure outside a young mind’s fantasies, and I wanted everything I didn’t have: death, violence, freedom, adventure. I wanted to know what it was like to kill.

Read the full conversation online or download it here.


A review of Zillij, by Ameena Hussein

However, if the debris of evangelism in Zillij is cleared by the growth of self-restraint and confidence, there is much to look forward to in future writing by the author. Ameena Hussein is introduced in Zillij as a Sociologist, writer. We hope that in the future, we see instead Ameena Hussein, Writer, sociologist.

Read the full review online here or download it here.



A review of The Ginirella Conspiracy, by Nihal  de Silva 

Meandering to an enervated and largely predictable denouement, this novel is largely forgettable. This is unfortunate, since the reader deserves better, if only on account of the expectation of a certain standard of writing by a Gratiaen award winning author. We hope that Mr. de Silva is able to rekindle his early genius to write fiction more worthy of a Sri Lankan author of repute. 

Read the full review here.