On the surface, A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam, appears to be a book that follows a grieving boy named Krishan during his journey following the Sri Lankan civil war. Krishan starts the trip in his home of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and ends in Rani’s village, where her funeral takes place. Throughout the philosophical passages of this engaging bildungsroman narrative, Arudpragasam weaves many overarching themes throughout the book combined with his stellar writing style of extended sentences that differentiate A Passage North from the other shortlisted novels on the 2021 Booker Prize process. including Krishan’s lack of a mother figure, amazing moments of figurative language, as well as the book functioning as a bildungsroman for a postmodern character in their twenties, rather than the typical teen coming of age novel. Our #LitCircle could not put the book down!
A Passage North is a fascinating insight into the perspective of a young adult after the Sri Lankan Civil War, and his story and the plot lines of the other characters remind us of the horrors of war and the grieving, pain, and destruction associated with battles. Anuk Arudpragasam’s novel sends a persuasive message to the reader, as he utilizes the perspectives of Krishan, among others, to create an anti-war sentiment that sticks with the reader long after they close the book.
In this episode, Ben and Frankie take a deep dive into these three themes listed above and how they are woven seamlessly into the story to enhance our understanding of the plot and how they affect the book’s characters in many ways.