The Millions

A Foreigner in One’s Own Country: On Akil Kumarasamy’s ‘Half Gods’

In her debut short story collection, Half Gods, Akil Kumarasamy takes readers into the lives of a multigenerational Sri Lankan Tamil family, tracing their history from the plantations of what was then the British colony of Ceylon to the beaches of the Jersey Shore. Across 10 interconnected stories, Kumarasamy explores what it means to be made to feel like a foreigner in one’s own country, a theme made all the more affecting by recent events.

When the British left Ceylon in 1948, independence from the British Empire had been secured through relatively peaceful means. The newly free Dominion of Ceylon entered the world with a number of advantages, including representative democratic institutions that were expected to provide stability and continuity. But the seeds of conflict between the majority Sinhalese

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