‘An impressive exploration of traumatic loss, done with delicacy.’ Romesh Gunesekera
The bustle of an English seaside resort gives way to the unreal calm of a coastal community in southern Sri Lanka as Savi and Renu, two cousins separated by civil war, are reunited just weeks before the tsunami strikes. Renu is struggling to find evidence that will bring political killers to justice; Savi is struggling to heal the damage wrought by a broken childhood. They are just catching up with the secrets of the past when the past catches up with them.
This haunting and richly textured novel of intersecting lives, memory and loss confronts the twin tragedies of a brutal civil war and the Boxing Day tsunami, revealing the intimate connections between silence and violence, displacement and desire.
What the critics are saying
‘An extraordinary novel of a country trying to come to its senses, to see and hear the thousands "disappeared" by political conflict and environmental catastrophe. Minoli Salgado's delicate, determined lyricism compels us to think of Sri Lanka's missing and the silenced, always conscious of the formidable challenges of reading and writing about those displaced from us by time and tide. The result is a literary latticework of remarkable craft and subtlety that brings into focus Sri Lanka's troubled past while shaping a necessary ethical response upon which the future might depend.’ Professor John McLeod, University of Leeds
‘For much too long, the literature of Sri Lanka has been overshadowed by that of its larger, more boisterous cousin India. But in Minoli Salgado's wonderful book, Sri Lanka comes alive not only as a place of mythology, tragedies, both human and natural, but as a land of dreams and of a people whose resilient spirit has a Chekhovian beauty. Like Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost, Salgado's work is an example of how we make literature out of the fire of near extinction. Her prose has the sublime beauty of a well- polished heirloom; something to be treasured.’ Syl Cheney-Coker
‘Powerful, tender and moving’ Abdulrazak Gurnah, Booker Prize nominee
‘It is a great book - a wonderful elegy to a childhood and country lost.' Susheila Nasta, MBE, Editor, Wasafiri
'A Little Dust on the Eyes is an extraordinary achievement, taking the reader into the multi-layered world of a Sri Lankan coastal community, a world where too many of the terrible events which happened during the Civil War can be still too raw, painful, and dangerous to acknowledge. Salgado’s evocation of this world and her characters is tender and compassionate, yet vivid, as we experience the tentative reunion of two cousins in the weeks preceding the Boxing Day Tsunami and its devastation.' Lyn Innes, Emeritus Professor of Postcolonial Literatures, University of Kent, Canterbury.