Visit Sri Lanka – Banana Tree Crisis by Insankya Kodithuwakku

Sometimes the reader has a real discovery. A few extra rupees at Colombo International Airport in Sri Lanka prompted the purchase of several books by local authors. Travel, if done with an interest in the world rather than in oneself, requires cultural immersion and experience as a requirement. Food, art, history, religions, culture and music are all on the list, but literature and writing should also make a difference. What the reader would not have predicted on the cover with bananas and stuff is the fact that this set of stories turns out to be nothing more than a revelation enough to merit the description of a “masterpiece.”

This is the book The Banana Tree Crisis by Insankya Kodituwakku. It consists of seven stories, containing a total of about fifty thousand words, enough for a traveler to read it before a plane heading west from Colombo even reaches Doha. But don’t think that this implies something insignificant. On the contrary, the subject matter of these stories goes straight to the heart of Sri Lanka’s social fabric, its political and religious conflicts, its war, its highly unequal society, even its often uneasy relationship with Britain, its former colonial master.

These stories touch on many issues and illustrate many arguments, but do not for a moment feel that they are in any way instructive or difficult. In reality, the opposite is true: the writing style is subtly simple and transparent, and the plots are deceptively simple in their ability to convey complexity with superb empathy. This is the Hindu-Buddhist-Muslim triangle, the Sinhalese-Tamil war, the relationship between the sexes and the generations, the destruction caused by the tsunami, the deliberate and other consequences of foreign aid, and even cricket. Anyone who has visited Sri Lanka will be amazed at the brilliance with which these contexts are artfully woven into the tales of ordinary people. The reader, who has never been to this beautiful, disturbing, hospitable and often violent island, may even feel that these stories were the same as the visit, so vivid are the descriptions and so obvious real scenarios. We even have a government minister being pushed through the crowd by the driver of his four-wheeled SUV. Anyone who has been to Sri Lanka realizes the need to get off the road. The reason why, by the way, convoys of monasteries behave so rudely in traffic is that they believe that bombs are never far off.

If this set of stories, The Banana Tree Crisis, by Insankya Kodituwakku contained only The House in Jaffna, it would still be worth buying, at least for those twenty pages. In just a few thousand words, Insankya Kodithuwakku addresses intergenerational and intercultural differences, empty consumer capitalism that views the individual as a mere sum of consumption, the nature of nostalgia, the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict, the fate of Jaffna and more generally. , recognition of life as a process of change. This is nothing more than a masterpiece of the genre.

And Insankya Kodithuwakku’s writing style is always beautifully transparent, always interesting and regularly surprises throughout this set of stories. Insankya Kodithuwakku is definitely showing great talent. If you know Sri Lanka, you will love these stories. If you have never been, then you will be taken there for an authentic, educational and very interesting visit. Please read The Banana Tree Crisis by Insankya Kodituwakku.

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