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The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War
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For three decades, Sri Lanka's civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas in a fierce battle that swept up about 300,000 civilians and killed more than 40,000. More than a million had been displaced by the conflict, and the resilient among them still dared to hope. But the next five years changed everything.

Rohini Mohan's searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation looks beyond the heroism of wartime survival to reveal the creeping violence of the everyday. When city-bred Sarva is dragged off the streets by state forces, his middle-aged mother, Indra, searches for him through the labyrinthine Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mugil, a former child soldier, deserts the Tigers in the thick of war to protect her family.

Having survived, they struggle to live as the Sri Lankan state continues to attack minority Tamils and Muslims, frittering away the era of peace. Sarva flees the country, losing his way – and almost his life – in a bid for asylum. Mugil stays, breaking out of the refugee camp to rebuild her family and an ordinary life in the village she left as a girl. But in her tumultuous world, desires, plans, and people can be snatched away in a moment.

The Seasons of Trouble is a startling, brutal, yet beau­tifully written debut from a prize-winning journal­ist. It is a classic piece of reportage, five years in the making, and a trenchant, compassionate examina­tion of the corrosive effect of conflict on a people.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/21/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781781686010
ASIN:
B00JYVYOT4
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APA Citation (style guide)

Rohini Mohan. (2014). The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War. Verso Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Rohini Mohan. 2014. The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War. Verso Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Rohini Mohan, The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War. Verso Books, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Rohini Mohan. The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War. Verso Books, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Rohini Mohan is a political journalist based in Bangalore, India. She has won prestigious recognition for her work, including the Charles Wallace Fellowship 2013; the ICRC Humanitarian Reporting Award 2012, New Delhi; the Sanskriti--Prabha Dutt Fellowship 2012, New Delhi; and the South Asian Journalists Association award 2011, New York. She has written for Tehelka, the Caravan, Outlook, the Hindu and the New York Times.

        Her website is pebblesthrow.blogspot.co.uk.

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title
The Seasons of Trouble
fullDescription

For three decades, Sri Lanka's civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas in a fierce battle that swept up about 300,000 civilians and killed more than 40,000. More than a million had been displaced by the conflict, and the resilient among them still dared to hope. But the next five years changed everything.

Rohini Mohan's searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation looks beyond the heroism of wartime survival to reveal the creeping violence of the everyday. When city-bred Sarva is dragged off the streets by state forces, his middle-aged mother, Indra, searches for him through the labyrinthine Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mugil, a former child soldier, deserts the Tigers in the thick of war to protect her family.

Having survived, they struggle to live as the Sri Lankan state continues to attack minority Tamils and Muslims, frittering away the era of peace. Sarva flees the country, losing his way – and almost his life – in a bid for asylum. Mugil stays, breaking out of the refugee camp to rebuild her family and an ordinary life in the village she left as a girl. But in her tumultuous world, desires, plans, and people can be snatched away in a moment.

The Seasons of Trouble is a startling, brutal, yet beau­tifully written debut from a prize-winning journal­ist. It is a classic piece of reportage, five years in the making, and a trenchant, compassionate examina­tion of the corrosive effect of conflict on a people.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker
      • content: "The Seasons of Trouble is devastatingly good. Rohini Mohan's intimately rendered account of the brutal end-game and unfinished aftermath of Sri Lanka's civil war is breathtakingly well-told. By focusing on the lives of three Tamils and telling their stories in novelistic detail, Mohan has revealed a modern tragedy of truly epic proportions. Haunting and unforgettable."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Review of Books
      • content: "Mohan captures a country of dueling narratives as irreconcilable as those of the Palestinians and the Israelis, of suspicions and betrayals instigated by an all-powerful security apparatus."
      • premium: False
      • source: Guernica
      • content: "Using three lives--an abducted son, a searching mother, and a child soldier--Mohan gets close enough to show the unraveling of not only a people but individuals and families ... Mohan combines years of superb journalism with a novelist's touch to give a vividly brutal and beautiful look at humans surviving the still-violent aftermath of a civil war."
      • premium: False
      • source: LA Review of Books
      • content: "A penetrating account of the stories of Tamil survivors of the conflict."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lucy Popescu, Times Literary Supplement
      • content: "In large part a chronicle of war and its aftermath, Mohan's impressive study is also a Kafkaesque story of survival in a society riven by ethnic tensions and mutual distrust."
      • premium: False
      • source: Anand Gopal, Bookforum
      • content: "Extraordinary rendering of the brutal denouement of the war between the Sri Lankan state and the Tamil rebels ... The effect of these three interwoven narratives is haunting, and The Seasons of Trouble is a work of daring empathy. Mohan manages to give us direct access to the worldview of impoverished Tamil villagers and the seemingly Faustian choices they face ... This is Sri Lanka's tragedy, but it is also Mohan's triumph."
      • premium: False
      • source: The American Interest
      • content: "Governments seriously contemplating Sri Lanka's model would be wise to read The Seasons of Trouble. It isn't a traditional political study, but Mohan doesn't intend it to be. Instead, by focusing intimately on the lives of three individuals--their daily struggles, the shared hurt and trauma--she has produced an ambitious, thoroughly engrossing work that informs the mind while simultaneously unsettling the heart."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy and The Hungry Ghosts
      • content: "Seasons of Trouble, though nonfiction, does what novels do best: it allows us into the hearts and minds of people who might be very different from us, but with whom we come to have a great empathy through inhabiting their lives."
      • premium: False
      • source: Economist
      • content: "Poetic ... a thoroughly absorbing book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Alan Moores, Booklist
      • content: "A significant, though heartrending, account."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 22, 2014
        The Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 with the government’s decisive defeat of the Tamil Tigers, but the wounds of the decades-long conflict are still fresh. In this harrowing and haunting work, Mohan, an investigative journalist with extensive experience in the subcontinent, follows three individuals from the island’s Tamil community as they try to pick up the pieces. She personalizes the regime’s policy of “diluting the Tamil population in the Vanni and preventing any future claims to a separate Tamil homeland.” As the army gained the upper hand against the militants, soldiers adopted scorched-earth tactics and took to abducting and torturing Tamil civilians. The rebels, in turn, kidnapped children from their own villages to send to the frontlines as cannon fodder. Of one of her subjects, who signed up for the Tigers while in high school, Mohan says, “in her seven years in the fighting force, she never held her breath again while pulling the trigger. But new faces did not replace the face of the first soldier.... She would never feel remorse for the killing of anyone, except him.” As Mohan shows, the survivors are deeply traumatized, and their stories offer no neat lessons or easy resolutions.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2014
        Putting a human face on the 30-year civil war in Sri Lanka. Bangalore-based journalist Mohan re-creates in scrupulous detail the struggles of three Tamil protagonists whose lives were profoundly altered since the 1980s by the militant separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Discriminatory policies against the Tamil, representing 30 percent of the population, began in the 1950s, accelerated in the 1970s, and culminated with the burning of the Jaffna Tamil library in 1981 and riots in July 1983. Indra is the matriarch whose ancestral ties reveal the degree of complexity among the Tamils: A Hindu whose father was once a soldier in the British army, she married John, a Tamil Christian, whose own ancestors were brought to Ceylon from southern India as laborers for the British tea plantations. Indra, a young mother at the time, was the first to witness the horrible anti-Tamil violence of 1983, which left 3,000 dead and hundreds fleeing the country. Her son, Sarva, who was born in 1980 and earned a diploma in nautical engineering, was abducted in 2008 by the Sri Lankan army and imprisoned for the crime of having been impressed into the Tamil militant group of the Vanni, or the Tamil-controlled interior, when he was younger. Indeed, the LTTE had set up an alternative government in the Vanni, with self-sufficient institutions, though the coercive methods of the LTTE were well-known-e.g., recruiting child soldiers and girls. The third protagonist in the story, Mugil, had been recruited in the Tamil Tigers as a teenager in 1998; retired to become a mother, she nonetheless returned in 2008 to work for the propaganda wing of the group. Throughout the book, the author delivers a narrative as fluid as fiction in the delineation of these scarred lives. Mohan demonstrates an accessible, engaging method of relaying a difficult, violent history.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        September 15, 2014
        Bangalore-based Indian journalist Mohan, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, among other publications, helps fill the yawning information gap created by the Sri Lankan government in the final months of the 26-year-long civil war there (19832009) and in that conflict's painful, unresolved aftermath. Conducting her interviews largely in Tamil, Mohan focuses on two families, that of Mugil, a Tamil Tiger who joined that militia as a teenage girl, and that of Darva, a young Tamil man who was essentially abducted by government agents (and later exonerated) on suspicion of terrorism. These strikingly detailed and graphic accounts, covering June 2008April 2013, are memorable for laying out the horrific conditions these and other Tamil families enduredfrom a lack of essential services to discrimination to a near-permanent state of displacement to the ever-present threat of injury or deathand for showing the utter helplessness Tamil families everywhere experienced in their efforts to avoid the pull of violence that drew in so many Sri Lankans during that period. A significant, though heartrending, account.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

For three decades, Sri Lanka's civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas in a fierce battle that swept up about 300,000 civilians and killed more than 40,000. More than a million had been displaced by the conflict, and the resilient among them still dared to hope. But the next five years changed everything.

Rohini Mohan's searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation looks beyond the heroism of wartime survival to reveal the creeping violence of the everyday. When city-bred Sarva is dragged off the streets by state forces, his middle-aged mother, Indra, searches for him through the labyrinthine Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mugil, a former child soldier, deserts the Tigers in the thick of war to protect her family.

Having survived, they struggle to live as the Sri Lankan state continues to attack minority Tamils and Muslims, frittering away the era of peace. Sarva flees...

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