Parallel Live, Nanda Pethiyagoda’s debut novel, traces the arc of the lives of two women, Namali Abeykoon and Podi Manika, born in the same village in Peradeniya in the hills of Sri Lanka, to families of different social strata.
The girls’ lives are intertwined from age ten all the way into their late sixties. Various incidents appear in the narrative; an inter-racial love relationship; the discrimination meted out to rural women; the willful obstinacy of young girls. These themes play themselves out against the backdrop of significant events engulfing Sri Lanka: the mob rampage f July 1983; the second JVP uprising; and the twenty eight year civil war.
Just as parallel lines run alongside each other, never crossing one another, Namali’s and Podi Manike’s companionship matures with age and experience, always supportive, never contentious. The cosmopolitan city-dweller and the village woman share an enduring relationship, proving that there is no stronger bond than that between women.