Half Gods brings together the exiled, the disappeared, and the seekers. Following the fractured origins and destines of two brothers named after demigods from the ancient epic the Mahabharata, readers become close with a family struggling with the reverberations of the past in their lives.
Like family members around a dinner table, the tales in [Half Gods] support, contradict, and argue with one another. They create a rich disorder. But the disjointedness of the portrait they form also speaks to trauma: how it can interrupt both chronology and one’s sense of self ... [Half Gods] is both generous and parsimonious ... As a writer, Kumarasamy refuses the divine; for her, the force with quasi-supernatural powers, the thing that disrupts linear time, disintegrates the self, and troubles the borders between countries, is violence.
Kumarasamy unsettles the Sri Lankan-American concept of home, not by gesturing explicitly to the conceptual similarity between the Pandavas’ exile and the Sri Lankan refugees but by meditating on the impossibility of making the allegory stick ... Notwithstanding its allusive opacity and predictable prose, Kumarasamy’s debut moves in the right direction, provoking serious questions about the writing of human rights and the ways in which literature bears the burden of representing unsolvable political problems... Kumarasamy adds Sri Lanka to [the] literary map by rescaling the grand narrative of the Mahabharata into a captivating story cycle.
Cruel and poetic lines populate Kumarasamy’s writing, buttressing the indignities her creations are forced to suffer with some beauty. Even then, she leaves us with a sense that a larger world, full of possibility, exists somewhere out there.