Set in Sri Lanka and America, the ten short stories in this debut collection feature characters struggling to contend with the brutality of a decades-long civil war while also seeking security, love, and hope. The characters are students, accountants, soldiers, servants. They are immigrants and strivers. They are each forced to make sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, choices. What they share, despite what they’ve endured, is the sustaining power of human connection.
“Lucid and wise, the haunting stories in The Other One illuminate the lives of Sri Lankans at home and in the States, lives shaped by the legacy of civil war. This is an unforgettable debut, and Hasanthika Sirisena is a truly remarkable writer.
—Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
“With precise and poignant detail Sirisena conjures up an entire and original world in these stories. Through the intimate portrayal of the lives of men and women caught up in Sri Lanka’s turmoil she conveys all the uncertainty, the changing cultures, the terrors, and hopes of our lives.”
—Sheila Kohler, author of Dreaming for Freud
“These stories are unflinching and honest and evoke the pain and exile of war. This is a collection that is not only important, it’s pitch-perfect, necessary, and enthralling.”
—Nina Swamidoss McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians
“Holy moly, this is one of the best short story collections I’ve read in years. If, as the author writes, the civil war in Sri Lanka created ‘a whole new sick little alphabet’—LTTE, SLFP, UNP, JVP—the language in The Other One does the opposite: it makes of a terrible chapter of history a work of art of great beauty, humor, and insight.”
—Jeff Parker, author of Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal