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Books > Language and Literature > All is Burning
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All is Burning
All is Burning
Description

PENGUIN BOOKS

ALL IS BURNING

Jean Arasanayagam is a Sri Lankan writer of Dutch Burgher origin. She attended a private Methodist Missionary School, is a graduate of the University of Ceylon and obtained an M.Litt in Literary Linguistics from the University of Stratchlyde, Glasgow. She was an Hon. Fellow in the Creative Activities of the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa in 1990. In 1994 she was International Writer-in-Residence in the South West (U.K.) and was Visiting Fellow at Exeter University in the Faculty of Arts. Her work has been published widely in Sri Lanka and abroad.

She is married to Thiagarajah Arasanayagam, writer, painter and playwright, and has two daughters who are themselves writers. She lives in Kandy but has travelled extensively in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and India.

Thus have I heard, The Blessed One was once living at Gayastsa in Gaya with a thousand bhikkus. There he addressed the bhikkhus.

'Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?

'Bhikkhus, the eye is burning, visible forms are burning, visual consciousness is burning, visual impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the visual impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion; I say it is burning with birth, ageing and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

The Fire Sermon of the Buddha

(Adittapariyaya-sntta)

Here too, the night is dark, thunder-black, as the fire In the village spreads, it's best to escape while you can, Take to the forest, mats rolled up on the head, Children tucked under the arms, no time to cook The evening meal, just milk in the breast, the morning's Rice wrapped up in a plantain leaf, to lie awake Watching alert for the sound of gunshot and wailing Cries, the moon wounded, the clouds bleeding . . .

Excerpt from Tire in the Village

Contents

The Journey

1

I Am an Innocent Man

22

Elysium

43

Time the Destroyer

53

The Mutants

84

Man Without a Mask

97

From Distant Ophir

116

The Golden Apples of the Hesperides

138

All is Burning

166

The Sand Serpents

177

The Innocents of the World

189

Prayers to Kali

217

Fragments from a Journey

229

A Fistful of Wind

264

Bali

290

A Husband Like Shiva

308

'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes'

333

Two Women and an Apple

354

Fear: Meditations in a Camp

376

Nineteen stories of rare power from the heart of war-ravaged Sri Lanka

In these stories Jean Arasanayagam brings us voices that are not normally heard: those of anonymous men and women searching for order and reason in the midst of a ruthless civil war. While many succumb to the horror of their times, there are others who discover in themselves unexpected reserves that will help them survive. Thus a young Sinhala man turns his back on an aimless upper-class existence and joins a group of Tamil refugees smuggling themselves into Germany; a woman goes out alone to the scene of a carnage to try and find her daughter's lover among the dead and dying; a maid returns from the rich desert city of Doha to the green half-jungle of her village in northern Sri Lanka and rediscovers happiness despite the uncertain future... In addition to stories about the effects of war and violence, this collection also explores aspects of ethnicity and individual choice in a multicultural society. AH is Burning is truth-telling at its poignant best.

'Jean Arasanayagam is one of the most significant voices writing in Sri Lanka today. Her fiction is deeply political in the very best sense of the word, concerned as it is with personal politics of post-colonial identity. Her luminous prose enables her to go straight to the core of her characters' social and personal dilemmas'

—Professor John Thieme,

Department of English, The University of Hull

All is Burning

Item Code:
IHL407
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1995
Publisher:
ISBN:
9780140251685
Size:
7.8 inch X 5.1 inch
Pages:
417
Other Details:
a53_books
Price:
$30.00
Discounted:
$22.50   Shipping Free
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PENGUIN BOOKS

ALL IS BURNING

Jean Arasanayagam is a Sri Lankan writer of Dutch Burgher origin. She attended a private Methodist Missionary School, is a graduate of the University of Ceylon and obtained an M.Litt in Literary Linguistics from the University of Stratchlyde, Glasgow. She was an Hon. Fellow in the Creative Activities of the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa in 1990. In 1994 she was International Writer-in-Residence in the South West (U.K.) and was Visiting Fellow at Exeter University in the Faculty of Arts. Her work has been published widely in Sri Lanka and abroad.

She is married to Thiagarajah Arasanayagam, writer, painter and playwright, and has two daughters who are themselves writers. She lives in Kandy but has travelled extensively in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and India.

Thus have I heard, The Blessed One was once living at Gayastsa in Gaya with a thousand bhikkus. There he addressed the bhikkhus.

'Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?

'Bhikkhus, the eye is burning, visible forms are burning, visual consciousness is burning, visual impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the visual impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion; I say it is burning with birth, ageing and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

The Fire Sermon of the Buddha

(Adittapariyaya-sntta)

Here too, the night is dark, thunder-black, as the fire In the village spreads, it's best to escape while you can, Take to the forest, mats rolled up on the head, Children tucked under the arms, no time to cook The evening meal, just milk in the breast, the morning's Rice wrapped up in a plantain leaf, to lie awake Watching alert for the sound of gunshot and wailing Cries, the moon wounded, the clouds bleeding . . .

Excerpt from Tire in the Village

Contents

The Journey

1

I Am an Innocent Man

22

Elysium

43

Time the Destroyer

53

The Mutants

84

Man Without a Mask

97

From Distant Ophir

116

The Golden Apples of the Hesperides

138

All is Burning

166

The Sand Serpents

177

The Innocents of the World

189

Prayers to Kali

217

Fragments from a Journey

229

A Fistful of Wind

264

Bali

290

A Husband Like Shiva

308

'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes'

333

Two Women and an Apple

354

Fear: Meditations in a Camp

376

Nineteen stories of rare power from the heart of war-ravaged Sri Lanka

In these stories Jean Arasanayagam brings us voices that are not normally heard: those of anonymous men and women searching for order and reason in the midst of a ruthless civil war. While many succumb to the horror of their times, there are others who discover in themselves unexpected reserves that will help them survive. Thus a young Sinhala man turns his back on an aimless upper-class existence and joins a group of Tamil refugees smuggling themselves into Germany; a woman goes out alone to the scene of a carnage to try and find her daughter's lover among the dead and dying; a maid returns from the rich desert city of Doha to the green half-jungle of her village in northern Sri Lanka and rediscovers happiness despite the uncertain future... In addition to stories about the effects of war and violence, this collection also explores aspects of ethnicity and individual choice in a multicultural society. AH is Burning is truth-telling at its poignant best.

'Jean Arasanayagam is one of the most significant voices writing in Sri Lanka today. Her fiction is deeply political in the very best sense of the word, concerned as it is with personal politics of post-colonial identity. Her luminous prose enables her to go straight to the core of her characters' social and personal dilemmas'

—Professor John Thieme,

Department of English, The University of Hull

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