This often fascinating and always carefully linked collection of stories shows the effect of such devastating civil war not only on a country, but on individuals. We see families scared, on edge, and broken by war, and we see outsiders—often volunteers from America like Luloff was—becoming entangled in the war and loss, as well. (Click here to read more.)
Joanna Luloff’s debut collection, The Beach at Galle Road (Algonquin), meticulously avoids the fighting in its depiction of wartime Sri Lanka. Students, teachers, innkeepers, and a few foreign travelers do their best to keep up some semblance of hope against increasingly troubling news from the island’s restive north. (Click here to read more.)
“In The Beach at Galle Road Joanna Luloff portrays, with exquisite passion and restraint, the troubled history of Sri Lanka. Writing from the point of view of young and old, Sri Lankans and Americans, civilians and soldiers, Luloff takes us deep into a country and a culture. Together these wonderful stories form an intricate web in which we, her readers, are happily caught. The Beach at Galle Road is a wise and profoundly moving debut.”
–Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Luloff, a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka in the 1990s, has written an engaging and thought-provoking collection of interconnected stories which shed a very personal light on the civil war in that country. By means of her vibrant characters, the author conveys a real sense of the fragile state in which Sri Lanka existed during the nearly 25 years in which the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils fought for control of the government. One story focuses on Janaki, whose sister travels from a refugee camp in the north, where most of the fighting took place, to live with her and her husband, a Tamil sympathizer now missing. Sam, an English teacher with the Peace Corps, falls in love with one of his students from the north — which comes to affect his own safety. Lucy, another Peace Corps volunteer leaves the south and joins a UN group administering to refugees in Jaffna, many of whom have lost family members to the war. Woven together, these stories reveal the realities behind the headlines, and provide a gripping read.