Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Novel by child soldier of the LTTE published by Random House India

An English novel depicting the dreadful life of a child soldier under the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the torture inflicted upon him when he disagrees has been published.

India's Random House has just published the English version of an original Tamil novel blowing the lid off the cruel practice of recruiting and engaging child soldiers in war penned by a former child soldier, himself.

The book has been hailed as "Unusual clarity coming from someone who picked up the gun at 15, had to leave his country before he was 20 and then spends the rest of his adult life as a refugee."

Written by the Tamil author, Sobashakti, in his early thirties, who was born as Anthony Jesuthasan, is a Tamil refugee now living in France, earning a living by doing odd jobs at fast food restaurants and working as a dish washer from time to time. The novel entitled "Gorilla" has been described as 'auto-fiction" and as a memoir since it is based on his dreadful past as a child soldier of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.-one of the most ruthless Tamil terrorist groups in the world.

The young author has also written another novel, three collections of short stories, and most recently, a collection of non-fiction pieces.

The novel was originally written in Tamil seven years ago. Since the terrorist group LTTE and its sympathizers take great pains to censor or banish any art work written about Tamil child soldiers like in the case of the recently produced feature film "Prabhakaran", the author admits it was with great fear that seven years ago he wrote Gorilla, about the cruel practice of kidnapping children for war against their will. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) kidnaps Tamil children from their homes, temple festivals, roads, playgrounds and the schools and imprisons them in abominable military garrisons depriving any access by their parents, at least to talk to them and putting them through rigorous military training and punishing them with beatings and death in the attempts of escape.

The novel has been introduced as follows by its publishers:
"Immensely disturbing, Gorilla plunges us into the village of Kunjan Fields, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Here, amusing local thug Gorilla runs wild and poor Rocky Raj, his son, tries to distance himself from his father's antics. Rocky Raj immerses himself in his studies, but the Tamil Eelam Movement comes to town and he becomes a child soldier. Soon, however, he is thrown out by the Movement for not following orders - then recaptured and tortured. What will be this soldier's fate?

"Filled with characters as strange and violent as they are unforgettable - young girls with bombs concealed in their bosoms, delinquent boys, illicit liquor sellers, wily police inspectors, murderers, prostitutes, farmers, innocents - Gorilla was a literary sensation when it first arrived in 2002. Its publication this year marks the English language debut of a remarkable talent."

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