Sodden Downstream by Brannavan Gnanalingam – quick review

by Catherine Woulfe / 05 March, 2018

A Sri Lankan-born novelist creates an indelible and endearing heroine.

Sodden Downstream (Lawrence & Gibson, $29) is local author ­Brannavan Gnanalingam’s fifth novel, but the first to feature a character from his country of birth, Sri Lanka. Sita is a Tamil refugee, who lives in the Hutt Valley and works as a cleaner in Wellington. When a flood halts all transport, Sita’s boss warns her that if she doesn’t show up, she’ll lose her job. As Sita supports her husband and son, she must find a way to get to work. But for every step she takes closer to her goal, she seems fated to be set back two, despite the willing­ness of everyone around her to help. Longlisted for the Ockham New ­Zealand Book Awards, this novel is a gem. Sita is a gentle, endearing vessel for the themes of social injustice, and her ­determination and optimism should ­qualify her as one of fiction’s great ­heroines. Highly recommended.

This article was first published in the January 6, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Teddy's in Ponsonby serves a lacklustre experience
Best of Wellington: Where to shop in the capital
98640 2018-11-13 00:00:00Z Travel

Best of Wellington: Where to shop in the capital

by Metro

Here are the best places to find ethical fashion, streetwear, vintage fashion, second-hand books and more.

Read more
Morningside's new food precinct, tiki bars, and more new Auckland openings
99007 2018-11-12 16:26:04Z Auckland Eats

Morningside's new food precinct, tiki bars, and mo…

by Alex Blackwood

Here's what's happening in Auckland food news for November.

Read more
Wally Haumaha appointment process was 'adequate and fit for purpose'
98982 2018-11-12 12:20:20Z Politics

Wally Haumaha appointment process was 'adequate an…

by Jo Moir

An inquiry into the government's appointment of the deputy police commissioner has found the process was "adequate and fit for purpose''.

Read more
Yellow is Forbidden: A Kiwi director's fashion doco stands apart from the rest
98978 2018-11-12 00:00:00Z Movies

Yellow is Forbidden: A Kiwi director's fashion doc…

by James Robins

China’s foremost fashionista is the subject of Pietra Brettkelly's strikingly beautiful new documentary.

Read more
Philip Temple on his relationship with the great NZ writer Maurice Shadbolt
98324 2018-11-12 00:00:00Z Books

Philip Temple on his relationship with the great N…

by Philip Temple

From his new Maurice Shadbolt biography, Temple writes about why he took on the task of recounting the life of this colourful & controversial figure.

Read more
Why you should raise your child as an intuitive eater
98505 2018-11-12 00:00:00Z Health

Why you should raise your child as an intuitive ea…

by Jennifer Bowden

There’s a balance between schoolkids eating enough for their energy needs and learning to recognise hunger through intuitive eating.

Read more
How Cuba Street became the heart of Wellington's bohemia
98657 2018-11-12 00:00:00Z Travel

How Cuba Street became the heart of Wellington's b…

by Redmer Yska

A once-seedy precinct has become an eclectic mix of cafes and hip retailing, its history celebrated in a new book.

Read more