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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Thursday 20 December 2007

Singapore Writer's Festival (Dec1-9) Rainbows in Braille launched.

by Suzan Abrams in Dublin
The serene if not sometimes tearful heart of Sri Lanka is held lovingly captive by pilot trainer and author, Capt. Elmo Jayawardena as he cradles its history and people in a tight rhythmic collection comprising 19 short stories and poignantly titled Rainbows in Braille.
Jayawardena who earlier authored two award-winning longer works of fiction called Sam's Story and The Last Kingdom of Sinhalay, plunges his pen with a whimsical air, into the deep collective emotions that may have swelled old Ceylon's heart and wounded it by turns, from a once painful government and history. Then there is also the catastrophe of the tsunami.
The stories may in fact, act as a soothing catalyst for a long torn bandage over its sad and angry people, still harbouring open sentiments from a time of strife and remembering all, as if the sun had set on their troubles only the day before.
With a distinct style in dialogue that is raw, distinctive and touching at the edges - think, " ...she has that look Beatrice, what to do, I'll keep her till I can find someone else..." Jaywawardena, captures conversations with the right mix of black comedy, in everyday scenes that may even masquerade slander and crime, and stay famous most of all, for its use of accented expressions that are familiar to most Asians.
Stories like The Bicycle Man, The Detergent Salesman, the Bread Man, motor men & Van Uncle - delicious homey titles, adopted from names where as children we used to give to appropriate passers-by, tinkers or hawker-men, are carefully and cleverly piled one on top of the other; to tingle the senses with the right mix for a reader's hearty appetitle and to be immediately identified with the common man for a nostalgic intimacy; and this coupled with Jayawardena's dark wit in making important social statements using only the lightest and simplest of lines.
Besides a strong touch of poetic prose for descriptions of scenic landscapes, Jayawardena also hones an easy talent for describing everyday culinary dishes with a delicious escapade and uses food themes to sort out the interplay of romances and social injustices with the skillful dexterity afforded to a smoothly-dealt pack of cards.
Once more, expressions like "...pausing to flavour it with a marzipan smile, no conversation, just ate, drank and ran when the bus started, Nescafeying, she's been cutting cucumbers for the Madam's salad breakfast, or my favourite..."..she was now cuddling in Green Cabin and eating lamprais and drinking extra sweet milkshakes at Cream House with the Ceylinico Man...." all add necessary smiles to tales that will sometimes seem unberably sad.
In fact, it is the sad resignation of acceptance that winds up most of the stories and the reader may be left with disturbing thoughts that make for the tragic brunt of knowledge, mostly derived from everyday newspaper reports. There is also a well-detailed ghost story, written out without fuss and guaranteed to add on the shivers.
Rainbows in Braille costs 10 Singapore dollars or 500 Sri Lankan rupees. For more details or purchase information, please contact the author directly on elmojay@sltnet.lk or aflac_admin@sltnet.lk
ALFAC International is founded by Capt. Elmo Jayawardena in Sri Lanka and now boasts 20 worldwide branches. It's main focus is in assisting cancer patients and in being engaged with the task of diminishing various aspects of poverty. Destitute families hold priority and proceeds from the sale of Rainbows in Braille will go mostly to ALFAC.
All quotes in italics, are taken from Rainbows in Braille and penned by Capt. Elmo Jayawardena. Copyright for quotes belongs to Capt. Elmo Jayawardena.

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