Magazine article New Internationalist

[Where the Dance Is]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[Where the Dance Is]

Article excerpt

Where The Dance is by A Sivanandan (Arcadia Books, ISBN 1-900850-19-2)

A Sivanandan, director of the Institute of Race Relations, has long been a respected political commentator and activist. His debut novel, When Memory Dies -- a moving and sensitive study of individuals caught up in Sri Lanka's troubles -- was a compelling blend of the personal and the political.

Sivanandan's new collection of stories, Where The Dance Is, continues and deepens the novel's themes of loss and dislocation. The subtitle of the book, 'Stories from Two Worlds and Three', hints that many of the characters are adrift in hostile and unfamiliar environments, trying to carve out private spaces in the face of exclusion and suspicion. The author does not expound or over-explain; the stories emerge from the tiniest of gestures, the briefest conversations.

'The Homecoming', a tender and beautifully written vignette, is typical of the tone of the collection; Ravi eagerly awaits the arrival of his family from Sri Lanka, painfully aware that his small flat in London is bound to disappoint, despite his best efforts, and that his children would grow up in 'a bleak land of grey-grief summers far from the swell of the sea. …

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