The Sadness of Geography

Overview

The harrowing journey of a teenage refugee who never gave up on his dream of seeing his family again.

Born to a wealthy family in northern Sri Lanka, Logathasan Tharmathurai and his family lost everything during the long and brutal Sri Lankan Civil War.

In January 1985, at the age of eighteen, he left his home in a desperate bid to build a new life for himself and his family abroad after a deeply traumatic encounter with a group of Sinhalese soldiers. As his terrifying and often astonishing journey unfolds, he finds himself in a refugee camp, being smuggled across international borders, living with drug dealers, and imprisoned.

The Sadness of Geography is a moving story of innocence lost, the persecution of an entire people, and the universal quest for a better life.

Reviews

Logathasan Tharmathurai’s
heart-stopping memoir is an intimate portrait of a young man caught in the
crosshairs of war. Beginning in northern Sri Lanka in the 1980s, a part of the
country that was the locus of civil war and off-limits to most outsiders, Tharmathurai
re-traces his steps as he makes a fraught and winding journey through the
island, across Europe, and finally on to Canada. Along the way, he lays bare
his complicated past: membership in the Tamil Tigers, false names and
passports, and being smuggled across borders. The result is a rare and frank
exploration of the risks and compromises people are forced to make in search of
sanctuary.

For every cynic who has looked
askance at refugee boats and migrant caravans, dismissed asylum-seekers as
‘illegals’ or ‘terrorists’, The Sadness of Geography is a direct and candid
rebuttal. Part history lesson, part warning, Tharmathurai’s book about Sri
Lanka’s brutal past offers important lessons for the present moment, our own
here and now. These pages are essential reading for everyone.

Sharon Bala, bestselling author of The Boat People

About the Author