A Little Dust on the Eyes is a novel by Sri Lankan author Minoli Salgado, published in 2019. The novel is set against the backdrop of Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war, which ended in 2009, and explores the experiences of ordinary people caught up in the conflict.
The novel's main character is Punchi, a young boy who is orphaned at a young age when his parents are killed in a bomb blast. He is taken in by his uncle and aunt, who live in a village in the war-torn Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The novel follows Punchi's life as he navigates the challenges of growing up in a society wracked by violence, poverty, and political turmoil.
Through Punchi's eyes, we see the impact of the war on the lives of ordinary people, as well as the complex web of social and political forces that underpin the conflict. Salgado's writing is both lyrical and evocative, and she captures the sights, sounds, and smells of Sri Lanka with great vividness.
One of the strengths of the novel is Salgado's nuanced and empathetic portrayal of the characters, who are all grappling with their own personal traumas and struggles. From Punchi's aunt, who is haunted by memories of her own losses, to a young Tamil girl who dreams of escape from the violence, Salgado's characters are complex, fully realized individuals who are struggling to find their place in a society torn apart by conflict.
At its heart, A Little Dust on the Eyes is a powerful and poignant exploration of the human toll of war. Salgado's prose is both eloquent and deeply affecting, and her novel offers a window into the experiences of ordinary people living in a society wracked by conflict. The novel is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and to the enduring power of hope and compassion, even in the darkest of times.