Jun 052024

Booklist: “[T]his is how she and I have spent our long and convoluted journey through time: joined at the hip, joined at the death, haunting each other, carrying each other.” Chandrasekera follows two entwined souls through an endless cycle of reincarnation and destruction in this slipstream novel, a poetic saga about identity and memory, colonialism and revolution, connection and commitment. It begins with a hauntingly enigmatic analysis of a TV show starring teenagers Annelid and Levert and set during a “war which is now over but never over.” Annelid is possessed by a demon in the jungle, and Leveret, a newly made revolutionary, is murdered. Though the show, watched by fans in the far future, ends with Leveret’s death, their story continues in the many nonlinear lives and worlds into which they reincarnate. These worlds, from ancient legends to a ruined, abandoned Earth, are woven from South Asian culture and populated with corrupt politicians and kings, revolutionaries, demons, living corpses, old gods, posthumans, artificial intelligences, and more. Chandrasekera employs multiple narrative forms and storytelling styles in this often difficult to parse but impossible to forget surrealist experience.