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.
The novel is written with subtlety and delicacy: Each thought or action, each sight or sound is rendered with exquisite care and judgment. The prose is clear and calm, but there is a tense undercurrent, conveying that, as the shelling and killing go on and the mass displacement of people continues, Dinesh can take nothing for granted … Although it has the aura of a small, timeless masterpiece, and despite its lushness and its hypnotic textures, The Story of a Brief Marriage is not an apolitical book or a novel that sanitizes savagery. Arudpragasam shows us how, under the pressure of war, minute and ambiguous sensations within the mind rise and fall or merge with one another, making their way into more elaborate thoughts or more exquisite feeling, including love and longing, including desperation.
...[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.