The Terrorist’s Daughter by Thisuri Wanniarachchi
The Terrorist’s Daughter by Thisuri Wanniarachchi, which is the second novel of the author, was launched on August 14 at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo. The novel is based on the socio-political issues of the youth in Sri Lanka. Thisuri’s first novel was Colombo Streets for which she won the National Literary Award for best novel of the year 2010. This feat made her the youngest Sri Lankan to write a local bestseller.
The Terrorist’s Daughter as the title suggests is about a girl named Thalya Hattrem who is the protagonist of the novel and is the adopted daughter of Amy Fowler-Watt and Sven Hattrem and biological daughter of LTTE intelligence leader Pottu Arman and Kshatri, who was also a female battalion leader of the LTTE. The story begins as a love story between Thalya and Chithesh who is President’s youngest son and winds up when Thalya gets married to Chithesh and gives birth to a baby girl. The novel is based mainly on Sri Lanka and its way of governance. Thisuri anchors the fiction in reality. However when the story develops the writer focuses on serious issues like corruption, long term war effects and even topics like love, abortion and faith in God.
Throughout the novel the writer maintains the idea that no matter how bad the situation is, there is hope and one should believe in God. She believes that Sri Lanka has so much potential to recover from the consequences of armed conflict. Profound criticism of the country’s current situation, what should the authorities do and what they should not do are quite evident in the novel. The writer has gone into the heart of the problem which is how the country should build the future after suffering from a 28 year civil war.
While reading the novel the reader will realize that the incidents described in the book are quite relevant to Sri Lanka. Some characters are exactly the same. However the writer has tried to disguise them by letter-swapping the names. Terms like ‘Dharmadasa Regime’, ‘Pottu Arman’, The Buddhist Affairs minister, D.M Jayathilake are some of the terms she has invented in the novel to bring out the irony, sarcasm and also to make it more effective as well as interesting for the reader.
The writer expresses how the politicians fool their voters to obtain power. One of the characters, Sharitha who is interested in entering politics says, “People like my uncle won elections just by telling people they should be proud to be Sri Lankan.” Thisuri however points out that what should be changed is the system and the system consists of people who are in fact corrupt. Who need to change are the people and not the Leaders. The author also reiterates the fact that a country cannot achieve a pure democratic society overnight post war.
The passages of the novel have a flow. The use of words and her style of writing are fresh. The attitude the writer has toward the subject matter is very appealing to the reader since her approach is humane. The striking way in which she uses words to bring out real life situations of ordinary citizens is admirable and sensitive.
Thisuri discusses the idea that God is great and he treats everyone equally, fair and square. The writer says that people are used to blaming God for their ill fates and they are reluctant to accept the fact that one creates his or her destiny. “We refuse to believe that we are stronger than our fears, larger than our limits and more than just a name. We would rather praise our successes and blame our ill fates to an external God. We refuse to take responsibility for our fate or what we do with it.”
Yet another very fascinating point the writer tries to make is that no one inherits the ability to love another. It is an emotion which is intimate and private therefore unique.
“Love is not a universal feeling that comes out of the same cookie cutter,” the writer expresses.
The writer expresses her own thoughts on love. “Love is like a permanent damage to your heart. Once it happens it will always be there,” she writes. One could say that the writer is not mature enough to talk about love and emotion. But when you read her novel the reader does not feel that she is still a young girl. This is because she reveals such profound ideas on love. “Love does not go away. Love grows into you, and stays within you. Love is infinite.”
The writer ends the novel with the notion that life will continue regardless of what happens. She explains that it is the ultimate reality of life. “…the world will revolve with or without them. The colors will still be in the sky. And life will go on.” However she passes on the strong message that hope will keep a person going, no matter what happens.
The Terrorist’s Daughter by Thisuri Wanniarachchi is a book written by a sensitive human being who is in love with Sri Lanka and who hopes for a better future in the years to come, a future enriched with humanity. It is a simple yet a very inspiring work of fiction. The author bases her novel on a casual love story, but uses it as platform to discuss, analyze, and criticize and to provide a long term solution for the future of the country.