Novel – Api
Author – Edmund Jayasinghe
Publisher – Wijesuriya Grantha Keandaraya
Edmund Jayasinghe’s new novel is noteworthy. It’s not different in subject matter from the first one. The only difference is the two levels of relationships of the two families. In the first, the background was of the rich and in the second is of the poor.
Yet in Api, the relationships of the two brothers with the one wife in accordance with the Kandyan life style are entirely different. It is accepted and recognised in the Kandyan life mode sharing one woman as wife among the brothers is common. This is mainly practised and accepted for the preservation of property rights in the same circle and in one family only.
There are no fights, jealousies, misunderstandings or otherwise seen in the Kandyan style of marriage life. Not that such signs may be prevalent. There may be, but they are not publicly seen or practised. In Api, this aspect is clearly and meaningfully implied and seen.
In Api, there are two brothers who share one wife. This was very much seen in the first marriage and equality prevailed. There were no differences that became noticeable. It’s to agreat extent obviously and understandably implied that the first brother’s relationship between first wife was closer and more loveable. After she passed away, the first brother’s behaviour is totally different. This element the author of the novel exhibits very forcefully. The first brother’s behaviour after the second wife’s arrival is clearly demonstrated.
The entire family approves his conduct without any questioning. He is more dominant and the family accepts his conduct without any opposition. He goes to the paddy field in the night and his word is dominant.
The younger brother is silent and obeys everything that the elder brother does. His character is posed as a very silent and remarkable one. His relationship with the elder brother is very well built. By this technique, the author’s capacity as a good writer is demonstrated. When analysing the writing techniques and the portrayal of characters, Edmund Jayasinghe’s work is commendable and praiseworthy.
Reviewed by Dr. Namel Weeramuni