The Slow Sad Suicide of Rohan Wijeratne

So what were you before?
Astrophysicist, said 116. You?
Alcoholic, said Rohan.

Sixteen light-years from Earth, a black hole spins in the darkness, gravity and rotation flattening it into a Kerr singularity. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, a suicidal alcoholic signs up for the ultimate one-way trip: to be frozen, sent light years away from home, and shot into the black hole itself.

This is an intensely clever little book, with several layers of allegory and a couple of obscure, spit-take references. Yudhanjaya Wijeratne is a literary stylist, which means that he does his own thing with the language. This may not be for everyone but I enjoyed it. This is stream-of-consciousness narration, an internal monologue, and it works exceptionally well as a storytelling mechanic. In this respect, his style reminds me of Palahniuk or Pynchon or even some early works by Harlan Ellison. I can’t wait to see more from this author.

– Joseph Malik, author of Dragon’s Trail

It’s a wonderful read. It’s a very Clarkian short story in it’s structure IMO. Circa the middle of Clarke’s career when he started to really find a balance between the soft narrative/philosophy and the hard science in his stories. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in Sri Lankan English literature. Ever. It’s definitely one of the best science fiction short stories I’ve read from anywhere.

– Dilina Amaruwan, journalist,

In turns, snarky, witty, laugh-out- loud funny, thoughtful and informative- oh and well written. The science was complex but explained in a way that made it easy to understand. The writing was taut, and well crafted. Mintage should offer the writer a lifetimes free Arrack and Prawn Toast, because I’m betting more people than ever before have made a bee- line to this establishment now.

– Thilani Samarasinghe, author of Extra-Ordinary

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