Sunila Galappatti at The Wire:
It takes a long time to tell this story to friends: to say that I have a book just out; that I worked on it for five years without speaking openly about it; that it is a memoir written in the voice of a naval officer who was held captive for eight years during the Sri Lankan civil war and that he speaks of that experience in an understated and accepting way.
This acceptance is the most surprising thing about the story and, almost immediately, people ask, “Did he go Stockholm?” I tell them it is a joke the commodore makes. “Maybe I have Stockholm syndrome,” he will say, and laugh. How is he to know, or I? We are not able to make a diagnosis, any more than the people who ask the question.
But over time I have wondered why this particular question recurs, of so many possible questions. There is inside it an urge to know – to be able to identify as something we recognise, a story that doesn’t fit the format we expect. There is a suggestion that we might know better than the man who is telling us his story. We are quick to make an illness of his survival strategies. Above all, we are schooled to resist the story being told.