Start a fire: the best books about political awakenings

  The Guardian 

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From Trotsky by torchlight to freedom fighters in the Philippines, Romesh Gunesekera chooses books to spark new understandingThe journey to an awakening, whether of a fictional character, a reader or a writer, is rarely straightforward. InSuncatcher, my narrator’s political awareness begins as a young boy when he reads Trotsky by torchlight. “The Problems of Life” is a Young Socialist pamphlet he has nicked from his father’s bookshelf. Under a mosquito net, in post-colonial Ceylon, Kairo is drawn in by Trotsky’s impassioned lectures on vodka, housework and the cinema. I discovered it while researching Sri Lanka in the 60s, a time when the Trotskyite party was at its peak. But it could have been in our house all along, tucked among the leftwing books on my father’s shelves – the 1962 edition I found in the British Library had been printed in Colombo, a mile from my childhood home. A generation earlier, in 1908, Ananda Coomaraswamy, a Ceylonese man of English and Tamil parentage, publish

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