Ransiri Menike de Silva who took the State Literary Award in 2007 for her debut collection of short stories needs little introduction. She stars in a family of writers and her firmament has given her all the space for her streaming creativity to nourish her readers.
With her new book, I see a sort of restless narrative drive and intimacy of approach.
Ten stories in 85 pages show us how well she can encapsulate her many themes and avoid stuttering over happenings. Each subject must be sensibly patterned and with no over-enthusiastic mush that can become a deadly foe of accuracy. Her talent really hits a target so many have as yet to see.
She writes the way Wordsworth said of writers; that in proportion to being good or great or original, they must create in themselves the taste by which their writings can be relished.
Weaver At Her Loom is not the title of any of the stories in this collection but we see how well it has been picked. The writer is the weaver.
She is at her loom and out of it come the colours, the affections, the designs, the inward checking to augment the number of her ideas.. and not just the spinning of rhetoric but each weave to mark the course of her characters, be it the little girl who loves her kindly rickshaw man ( Love pp1-8) and the little Dhammika who sees a murder recreated before her terror-stricken eyes ( A Headline Story pp 9-20). Ransiri had transported this story from Scandinavia, placing it on her loom just as it had happened far away.
Death in any form needs to be understood. Didn’t Philip Larkin say that death is no different whether you whine at it or withstand it? Culture has to shift across the warp and woof as well as characters.
This is where her third story has scored so well. Such a giddy, self-important bunch- the kind who liked to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like. This is a fun story, artfully woven
(Couch Potato and Other Tales pp 21-24)
As you read you will find nothing contrived. The stories flow out of her not because she looks for fame but because she wants readers to know that she had them in mind. After all she remains the instrument- the loom if you wish it to be- that you must also use. It is simply a beautiful bond between writer and reader.
I have given you an aperitif so that you can look forward to the downing of many more glasses of Ransiri’s nectar.
Keep writing Ransiri.