The Story of a Brief Marriage | Granta

  • Published: 06/07/2017
  • ISBN: 9781783782383
  • 129x20mm
  • 208 pages

The Story of a Brief Marriage

Anuk Arudpragasam

Dinesh is a young man trapped on the frontlines between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers. Desensitized to the horror all around him, life has been pared back to the essentials: eat, sleep, survive. All this changes when he is approached one morning by an older man who asks him to marry his daughter Ganga, hoping that victorious soldiers will be less likely to harm a married woman. For a few brief hours, Dinesh and Ganga tentatively explore their new and unexpected connection, trying to understand themselves and each other, until the war once more closes over them.

Told in meditative, nuanced and powerful prose, this shattering novel marks the arrival of an extraordinary new literary voice.

Very seldom in a reading life does a novel alter your sense not only of literature but of the world. This extraordinary debut is of that class: a novel of consciousness unrelenting in its devotion to the imperiled body; an exquisite, unbearably moving work of art equally alive to brutality and tenderness. Anuk Arudpragasam has written a great book. I will never forget it

Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Anuk Arudpragasam's novel is a work of furious, hypnotic beauty -- honest and unsparing in its engagement with the consequences of war, and brilliantly tender and generous in its portrayal of love

Dinaw Mengestu, author, All Our Names

A closely-focused hypnotic novel of serious intensity

Romesh Gunesekera

The Author

Anuk Arudpragasam was born in Colombo and currently lives between Sri Lanka and India. His debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize as well as the Internationaler Literaturpreis. He received a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University in 2019.

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From the Same Author

A Passage North

Anuk Arudpragasam


It begins with a message: a telephone call informing Krishan that his grandmother”s former care-giver, Rani, has died in unexpected circumstances, at the bottom of a well in her village in the north, her neck broken by the fall. The news arrives on the heels of an email from Anjum, an activist he fell in love with four years earlier while living in Delhi, bringing with it the stirring of distant memories and desires.

As Krishan makes the long journey by train from Colombo into the war-torn Northern Province for the funeral, so begins a passage into the soul of an island devastated by violence. Written with precision and grace, A Passage North is a poignant memorial for the missing and the dead, and a luminous meditation on time, consciousness, and the lasting imprint of the connections we make with others.

Anuk Arudpragasam on

Granta Books Writing | The Online Edition

Appamma in London

Anuk Arudpragasam

An excerpt from A Passage North, longlisted for the Booker Prize.