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The Line of Lanka: Myths and Memories of an Island

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Sit back and let yourself be swept along in Sunela Jayewardene's intrepid journeys across Lanka's lush countryside. Join her and rediscover myth & legend, history & heritage as she adroitly describes nature's enduring beauty and oft forgotten traditions that pulse to the beat of an unseen drum. Line of Lanka is a brilliant and unusual portrayal of a country and its people Sit back and let yourself be swept along in Sunela Jayewardene's intrepid journeys across Lanka's lush countryside. Join her and rediscover myth & legend, history & heritage as she adroitly describes nature's enduring beauty and oft forgotten traditions that pulse to the beat of an unseen drum. Line of Lanka is a brilliant and unusual portrayal of a country and its people that will change your perceptions of Sri Lanka. With a poet's eye for beauty, Jayewardene explores the spiritual landscape of Sri Lanka. – John Gimlette, The Elephant Complex A personal travelogue that defies easy bracketing – Sanjana Hattotuwa, Groundviews A composite of many stories woven out on forgotten trails – Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne


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Sit back and let yourself be swept along in Sunela Jayewardene's intrepid journeys across Lanka's lush countryside. Join her and rediscover myth & legend, history & heritage as she adroitly describes nature's enduring beauty and oft forgotten traditions that pulse to the beat of an unseen drum. Line of Lanka is a brilliant and unusual portrayal of a country and its people Sit back and let yourself be swept along in Sunela Jayewardene's intrepid journeys across Lanka's lush countryside. Join her and rediscover myth & legend, history & heritage as she adroitly describes nature's enduring beauty and oft forgotten traditions that pulse to the beat of an unseen drum. Line of Lanka is a brilliant and unusual portrayal of a country and its people that will change your perceptions of Sri Lanka. With a poet's eye for beauty, Jayewardene explores the spiritual landscape of Sri Lanka. – John Gimlette, The Elephant Complex A personal travelogue that defies easy bracketing – Sanjana Hattotuwa, Groundviews A composite of many stories woven out on forgotten trails – Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne

30 review for The Line of Lanka: Myths and Memories of an Island

  1. 4 out of 5

    Isuru

    The parallel running narratives of experience, historical fact, and author's imagination gives the reader a unique experience—it is not quite travelogue, not an historical account, and nor total fiction; but a unique blend of these. The explorations in this book are not what you would find in a traditional account of history of Lanka. It opens your minds to what history would have been beyond the recorded history of 2500 years and leaves you with open questions—which are left to be answered by t The parallel running narratives of experience, historical fact, and author's imagination gives the reader a unique experience—it is not quite travelogue, not an historical account, and nor total fiction; but a unique blend of these. The explorations in this book are not what you would find in a traditional account of history of Lanka. It opens your minds to what history would have been beyond the recorded history of 2500 years and leaves you with open questions—which are left to be answered by those who study them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aysha Ziyad

    An excellent piece of writing but it took me a good two weeks to read this. Was fascinated by the stories most of the time but this should be a side read. Probably a chapter/half a chapter per day :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mindy McAdams

    I bought this book in Barefoot, a shop in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the end of a trip there in December 2019. I feel a little sad; it's the last overseas trip I took before the pandemic. I also feel so grateful to have been able to see that beautiful country. The author is Sri Lankan, so it's not a "travel book" per se, but it is set in the context of her own travels throughout the land. These are the travels of a Sri Lankan in Sri Lanka, and there's quite of lot of arduous hiking up mountains and I bought this book in Barefoot, a shop in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the end of a trip there in December 2019. I feel a little sad; it's the last overseas trip I took before the pandemic. I also feel so grateful to have been able to see that beautiful country. The author is Sri Lankan, so it's not a "travel book" per se, but it is set in the context of her own travels throughout the land. These are the travels of a Sri Lankan in Sri Lanka, and there's quite of lot of arduous hiking up mountains and into jungles and even crawling on her belly in a cave tunnel. Each chapter is focused on a legend or myth, or sometimes history, for the most part tied to a specific location. The rich description is done well, but I have to confess I have a problem visualizing landscapes and other scenes no matter how well written they are. It's a particular handicap of mine as a reader. It's not that I dislike description; it's that I just can't see the images an author is trying to create for me. Having been deeply impressed by the winding roads and dense forests and dramatic hills of Sri Lanka, I tried to place what I had seen into the context of what Jayewardene has written. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes I read the landscape descriptions a little quickly to get through them. What I loved, though, were all the stories connected to the places. I was caught up right away in the legends of Ravana, ancient king of Lanka and enemy of Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. Jayewardene spins tales of a lost civilization and takes us to what she is certain was an ancient airfield. Was Rama's arrow actually a rocket? Other stories are more plausible, and some (like the final chapter, which describes the famous festival in which elephants parade a sacred tooth of the Buddha through the streets on the onetime capital city Kandy) are purely historic. The mixing of Buddhism and Hinduism, the role of Islam and the Muslim traders and even Sufis from Persia by way of Iraq are integral parts of the story of Sri Lanka. The concoction is eclectic and even a little magical. Even though I laid this book aside for a few months when I was about halfway through, when I picked it up again three days ago I read straight to the end. It's a keeper. I hope someday I can visit Sri Lanka again and maybe venture father afield — in Jayewardene's footsteps. .

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    Sri Lanka has a rich history buried by time and neglected by the education system. If only Sunela's book was part of the curriculum, more young Sri Lankans would take an interest in the stories of their land. This book straddles both history, mythology, anthropology and in parts seem a poetic journal entry. At times this is difficult to read, the sheer amount of information is hard to process but it is worth it. Perhaps a chapter at a time? Either way, she references so many texts, characters an Sri Lanka has a rich history buried by time and neglected by the education system. If only Sunela's book was part of the curriculum, more young Sri Lankans would take an interest in the stories of their land. This book straddles both history, mythology, anthropology and in parts seem a poetic journal entry. At times this is difficult to read, the sheer amount of information is hard to process but it is worth it. Perhaps a chapter at a time? Either way, she references so many texts, characters and locations, I spent much time between chapters researching further (maybe her intention?). I hope she writes more, there are an innumerable amount of stories on this island.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    Really wanted to love this in it's entirety but unfortunately I could not. I struggled through it because there is so much information, from the historical content/theories (which was my favourite part), to descriptive locales (lots of knowledge to be gained from these) to the author's own imaginations (which I think did a disservice to the core content of the book, not because her imagination is lagging but because the historical content is that much more grander). I am forever grateful to have Really wanted to love this in it's entirety but unfortunately I could not. I struggled through it because there is so much information, from the historical content/theories (which was my favourite part), to descriptive locales (lots of knowledge to be gained from these) to the author's own imaginations (which I think did a disservice to the core content of the book, not because her imagination is lagging but because the historical content is that much more grander). I am forever grateful to have read this as it introduced me to so much about my country, for this reason I loved it. My favourite chapters in this book include the ones on Ravana, the Naga, the Nittaewo, the Sufis, and the last chapter on Lanka's last King. In general, the book ignited a desire to know more about Ravana and the time before Vijaya, and the kings and queens that followed after Vijay.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Surani Neangoda

    Loved all the chapters. An eye opener to an unwritten history of my island. Folklore apart, there is proof to many stories, and Sunela Jayewardene has seeing most and documented to make such stories to be true. Sufism was a total eye opener to me. Additionally I loved the way she describes the scenery and events encountered during her trips to the untrodden spaces. It transports the reader to the world of mystery and beauty gifted by nature, now less appreciated. Would recommend to anyone interes Loved all the chapters. An eye opener to an unwritten history of my island. Folklore apart, there is proof to many stories, and Sunela Jayewardene has seeing most and documented to make such stories to be true. Sufism was a total eye opener to me. Additionally I loved the way she describes the scenery and events encountered during her trips to the untrodden spaces. It transports the reader to the world of mystery and beauty gifted by nature, now less appreciated. Would recommend to anyone interested in reading an undocumented aspect of Sri Lanka's history, not taught in school.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Kimber

    A series of reflections about Sri Lanka’s mythological, oral and recorded history, using travel notes and personal experiences, to create an historical review - an analysis of legends intertwined with a travelogue to provide an understanding of Sri Lanka, its past and its people. Not an easy read but worth pursuing. Often poetic, but helpful for readers interested in the less explored ideas about Sri Lanka, its myths and legends, kingdoms, religions, and earlier eras.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam Perera

    Sunela is the perfect guide for armchair travellers. Read her book to rediscover Lanka through myths & legends, obscure backroads and byways, and traditional but forgotten customs. Available from www.pererahussein.com Sunela is the perfect guide for armchair travellers. Read her book to rediscover Lanka through myths & legends, obscure backroads and byways, and traditional but forgotten customs. Available from www.pererahussein.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vi

    This book makes you love and appreciate Sri Lanka more and more

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judith

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ridmi Beneragama

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mariyam Begum

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cat Sinclair-Jones

  14. 5 out of 5

    N R

  15. 4 out of 5

    MEGAN DHAKSHINI

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Baumgart

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vindi

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeevan William

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sharadha

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thevuni Kotigala

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tharindri

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dani

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

  26. 5 out of 5

    Palmyrah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sukumaran

  28. 4 out of 5

    Myra

  29. 4 out of 5

    Thilina Panduwawala

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarika W

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