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Broken Jaw
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Republic of Consciousness Prize > 2020 RoC longlist: Broken Jaw

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message 1: by Paul (last edited Jan 25, 2020 02:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8495 comments Broken Jaw by Minoli Salgado (The 87 Press)

From the judges:

A collection of stories that travels through civil war, political turmoil and personal memory in Sri Lanka, giving voice to the suppressed, the silenced and the forgotten. These are stories told with courage and hope, and Broken Jaw is an act of defiance. The 87 Press, founded in South London in 2018, is one of five Republic of Consciousness debutants on this year’s longlist.

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3102 comments Mod
Just collected my copy of this one...

Neil | 1859 comments This is the one I chose as part of my RoC subscription, so waiting for the post to arrive...

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8495 comments Ordered direct from publisher but also still waiting.

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3102 comments Mod
My first impressions having read about half of the book are positive - some of the stories are graphic and harrowing, but there is plenty of humanity there and it is quite poetic in places too. It is a collection of very short stories most of which were written some years ago.

message 6: by Hugh (last edited Feb 04, 2020 06:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3102 comments Mod
After the first 50 pages or so, the focus moves away from the Sri Lankan civil war and gets more personal and autobiographical, particularly in the last three pieces which are memoirs of childhood. Overall I was very impressed.

My Review

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8495 comments Very impressed with this.

If anyone wants a taste before buying here is one of the stories - funny and heartbreaking at same time and less than a page long.

Or for audiobook fans, the author reading it:

This is the context:

message 8: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 1019 comments Mod
oh lovely! Thanks for the links, Paul!

Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5246 comments My review

I found the collection (which overall was very good) at its best when she was writing on or around the Sri Lankan war - as that way there was a combination of a strong writing technique and a powerful writing subject.

The memoir part at the end I found the weakest but that was I think due to my reaction to the life described rather overwhelming my appreciation for the underlying themes.

message 10: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 1859 comments I was also impressed by this, but maybe not so much as Hugh, Paul and GY (which suggests it is me rather than the book!). As GY says, I found it at its strongest when writing about the war, which is really the first 8-9 stories. Through those, it felt focused and powerful, but the effect seemed to be diluted in the second half of the book as the stories' focus broadened.

It is definitely a very good book, but I was left a little disappointed that it didn't carry me to the end in the way it carried me through the first half.

Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5246 comments I think we broadly agree here Neil.

message 12: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8495 comments Interesting interview with the publisher:


Turn out to be based very locally to me (c3 miles away)

message 13: by Hugh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3102 comments Mod
My copy of Minoli Salgado's 2014 novel A Little Dust on the Eyes is available to collect tonight, and I am looking forward to it, but it may be sitting on the to-read shelf for a while given my other reading commitments and forthcoming longlists...

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 521 comments I finished today. Like the rest of you, I thought the war-related stories were the best - heart rendering and beautifully written. I like all but one of the rest but they did not pack quite the same emotional wallop.

message 15: by Hugh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3102 comments Mod
I read the first half of A Little Dust on the Eyes last night, and so far I am very impressed. It starts rather slowly but to some extent that is necessary to frame the story. She could easily become a favourite writer.

message 16: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8495 comments You've sold me on it Hugh. I am hearing good things about The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Love Story from the same publisher, so have ordered both.

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