Arudpragasam captures the vernacular while sustaining a startling lyricism ... Even silence in the midst of war is rendered with bracing clarity. The reverence that is paid to the minutiae of refugee life, a brilliant choice, is sometimes undermined by too much fixation on detail ... This is a book that makes one kneel before the elegance of the human spirit and the yearning that is at the essence of every life.
...[an] exceptional debut novel ... With rapt precision, the novel details the first hours of this makeshift union ... Mr. Arudpragasam depicts [war] realistically, as a meaningless, machine-like force of destruction. And in examining the basic particulars of human interaction, his book displays the devotional intensity that Mr. Foer’s characters endlessly pontificate about but rarely find.
The novel both implicitly and explicitly raises crucial questions about the aesthetic and ethical stakes involved in regarding the suffering of others. Arudpragasam uses placid, even poetic prose, with results that range from brilliantly unsettling to questionably indulgent ... [an] often formidable novel.