> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 15 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241997673
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $22.99

Brotherless Night

'Blazingly brilliant' CELESTE NG




WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION: A searing, gripping novel about a young Tamil woman living through the Sri Lankan civil war

Sixteen-year-old Sashi wants to become a doctor. But over the next decade, as a vicious civil war subsumes Sri Lanka, her dream takes her on a different path as she watches those around her, including her four beloved brothers and their best friend, get swept up in violent political ideologies and their consequences. She must ask herself: is it possible for anyone to move through life without doing harm?

  • Published: 15 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241997673
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $22.99

Praise for Brotherless Night

Brotherless Night is my favorite kind of novel, one so rich and full of movement that it's only later I realize how much I have learned. V. V. Ganeshananthan drew me in from the very first line, and the intricacies of her characters' lives made it easy to stay

Sara Novic, New York Times bestselling author of TRUE BIZ

A beautiful, brilliant book... tender and fierce as it is mournful. It is unafraid to look directly at the worst of the violence and erasure we have perpetrated or allowed to happen, but is insistent that we can still choose to be better

Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections

Through this moving story, Ganeshananthan traces the human aspects of war-the physical losses and tragedies as well as the conflicts of values that are often the true battlefields . . . [she] forces the reader to discard a binary description of the world in favor of a more complex, human one

BookPage, starred review

Riveting, heartbreaking and extraordinary for both its empathetic gaze and its clear-eyed depiction of the brutality of war, Brotherless Night is a masterpiece

Star Tribune

V.V. Ganeshananthan's novel Brotherless Night reveals the moral nuances of violence, ever belied by black-and-white terminology

The New York Times

Prepare to have your heart well and truly pummelled by this searing story about a young Tamil woman growing up as the Sri Lankan civil war explodes around her . . . at times, it's hard to remember that this rich and nuanced novel isn't actually a memoir - so convincing is Sashi's voice and so compelling her story

Bookseller, Book of the Month (preview)

A searing and intimate depiction of the Sri Lankan civil war from the point of view of an aspiring doctor . . . Ganeshananthan credibly captures the horrors and pain of the conflict felt by those caught between loyalties. It all makes for a convincing and illuminating war novel

Publishers Weekly

A beautifully written story of resilience, loss, human connection and survival amidst the complexities and violence of war

Ms Magazine

Sashi's storytelling is a perfect fit for the delicate balance she is forced to walk by virtue of living in a society where running afoul of the dominant forces, saying the wrong thing, leveling too impassioned a rebuke, can prove a capital offense

Omar El Akkad, New York Times Book Review

A remarkable unflinching novel that delicately, with surgical precision, exposes the deep wound at the heart of a long cruel war

Romesh Gunesekera, author of Reef

A real eye-opener of a book

Good Housekeeping

Ganeshananthan is a superb writer...I wept at many points in this novel and I also wept when it was over

Sunday Times

A careful, vivid exploration of what's lost within a community when life and thought collapse toward binary conflict [...] a novel for our own country in this odd time.

New Yorker

When we return to New York two decades later we've begun to understand how the Tamil 'terrorists' defy this label as much as any other. Ganeshanathan triumphs in her portrait of them as complex individuals - 'people you might know or love'

Spectator

Visceral, historical, emotional, it is 300 pages of must-read

Women's Prize judge Anna Whitehouse

Brotherless Night is a spectacular work of historical fiction: thoroughly researched, brimming with outrage and compassion, and full of indelible imagery.

Guardian

Brotherless Night is a brilliant, compelling and deeply moving novel that bears witness to the intimate and epic-scale tragedies of the Sri Lankan civil war. In rich, evocative prose, Ganeshananthan creates a vivid sense of time and place and an indelible cast of characters. Her commitment to complexity and clear-eyed moral scrutiny combines with spellbinding storytelling to render Brotherless Night a masterpiece of historical fiction.

Monica Ali, chair of judges for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Moving and rapturous... equal parts heartbreak and rage, unravelling the tragedy of Sri Lanka's civil war with a family saga of violence, loss, impossible choices and astounding courage

Shehan Karunatilaka, Booker Prize-winning author of The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

I read and very much admired

Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

A devastating look at the cost of war and choosing sides

Times Summer Reads

Intimate in tone, yet epic in scope, the book captures the devastating losses and moral complexities of living through a period of political turmoil. It is a worthy winner of the Women’s prize

Guardian Summer Reading

With immense compassion and deep moral complexity, V. V. Ganeshananthan brings us an achingly moving portrait of individual and societal grief. "I want you to understand," the narrator of BROTHERLESS NIGHT insists, and by the end of this blazingly brilliant novel, we do: that in a world full of turmoil, human connections and shared stories can teach us how - and as importantly, why - to survive.

CELESTE NG, bestselling author of LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE

A heart-breaking exploration of a family fractured by civil war. This beautiful, nuanced novel follows a young doctor caught within conflicting ideologies as she tries to save lives. I couldn't put this book down

BRIT BENNETT, bestselling author of THE VANISHING HALF

Stunningly great

Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of RODHAM, via Twitter

A beautiful, brilliant book - it gives an accounting of the unimaginable losses suffered by a family and by a country, but it is as tender and fierce as it is mournful. It is unafraid to look directly at the worst of the violence and erasure we have perpetrated or allowed to happen, but is insistent that we can still choose to be better

Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections

Brotherless Night is my favorite kind of novel, one so rich and full of movement that it's only later I realize how much I have learned. Ganeshananthan drew me in from the very first line, and the intricacies of her characters' lives made it easy to stay

Sara Novic, author of True Biz