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Modern Sri Lankan Stories: An Anthology

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Item Code: HAS729
Author: Edited By D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: English
Edition: 1986
ISBN: 8170300886
Pages: 191
Other Details 9x6 inch
Weight 332 gm
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Book Description

Sri Lankan writers of fiction in English have, I dare say, excelled as authors of short stories rather than as novelists. The inability to carry through successfully at the profoundest level a full-length novel implies a limitation of their creative powers, yet I would not like to underrate the short story in English. It has established itself in modern times as a genre important in itself.

The short story is, to be sure, less demanding and also less daunting to the writer than the novel, but it requires skills and gifts peculiar to the form. It involves a greater selectiveness and concentration, yet it can be rich and significant. The writer needs greater powers of invention, capable of creating new settings and fresh characters for each story. The short story seems specially suited to, and an expression of, the hectic pace of modern life. Sri Lanka too having entered it, to put it simply and crudely, may be we have less time for novels than we had a few decades back, though there is a category of readers enamoured of blockbusters, historical or otherwise.

As any anthologist would like to do, I have selected what seems to me the best of our short fiction and I find that all the stories I chose, were in fact written after 1956. This is significant. As in many countries, the colonial period in Sri Lanka was, despite fitful flashes, generally an era of mean achievement as far as original writing in English was concerned, it did produce the novel The Village in the Jungle (1913), still the finest imaginative werk about the island, but that was by an Englishman, Leonard Woolf, just as the best creative work in English in the 19th century, Forest Life in Ceylon (1854), was by another Englishman, William Kaighton. The presence of the colonial masters had a suffocating effect on the creative energies of the local inhabitants and it was only after Independence (1948) that a body of literature in English by Sri Lankans began to emerge.

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