So begins the story of Myshkin and his mother Gayatri, who is driven to rebel against tradition and follow her artist’s instinct for freedom.
Anuradha Roy’s deeply moving novel tells the story of men and women trapped in a dangerous era uncannily similar to the present. Its scale is matched by its power as a parable of our times.
'This is why you read fiction at all' – Marie Arana, Washington Post
'Roy’s prose does not hit a single wrong note: its restrained beauty sings off the page' – Neel Mukherjee, Time Magazine
So muses Khalid Khan a seventeen year old Afghan boy living in Melbourne. Khalid is like any other boy of his age in Australia; he loves his Footy, his mum's cooking and takes every opportunity to tease his sister Aisha. He believes in Allah although he sometimes wonders whether it is such a good idea to convert everybody in the world to Islam.
The quiet suburban life of Khalid's family is turned upside down one Friday morning when they have an unwelcome visitor. What follows is a hilarious – and poignant – intercultural encounter in multicultural Australia.
'Channa has a wonderful ear for the patois of teenagers. He helped me to empathise with the lives of people, whose religion is intertwined with their culture, and he did it with humour and insight which, given the political tenor of the times we live in, cannot be a bad thing.' - Michael Cooke, Doryanthes
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Wheeler dealer, blackmailer and black marketer, Sam Kandy is not a very nice person. But he is a hell of a guy. Beggar's Feast is a novel about a man who lives in defiance of fate. Sam Kandy was born in 1889 to low prospects in a Ceylon village and died one hundred years later as the wealthy headman of the same village, a self-made shipping magnate, and father of sixteen, three times married and twice widowed. In four parts, this enthralling novel tells Sam's story from his boyhood-when his parents, convinced by his horoscope that he would be a blight upon the family, abandon him at the gates of a distant temple-through his dramatic escape from the temple and journey across Ceylon to Australia and Singapore, before his bold return to the Ceylon village he once called home. There he tries to win recognition for his success in the world-at any cost.
A novel about family, pride, and ambition, about what it takes for one man to make something out of nothing, set on a gorgeous, troubled island caught between tradition and modernity, "Beggar's Feast" establishes Boyagoda as a major voice in international literature.
'Let us neither over nor under state the case – this is a beautifully written book. It reads like a hot curry balanced against a mango relish' – Hubert O Hearn, Winnipeg Review
'A post-colonial Gatsby Beggars Feast is a picaresque about the clash of the worlds and the revenge of empires, about fate and history and harbours and birthright and brothels and moneylenders and metal-benders' – Mark Jarman , The Globe and Mail
'Boyagoda's narrative voice... is as lush as the tropical landscape of Ceylon, this voice, with its endless sentences, its mad cataloguing of things – a style sinuous, declamatory, periphrastic, peppered with extravagant metaphors and odd phrases' - Philip Marchand, National Post
Longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC prize
Renegade war photographer Maali Almeida has to solve his own murder. Does that sound fun? It would if there weren't so much bloody red-tape to get through. Oh and it's not as though anyone alive actually seems to miss him, and it certainly doesn't help that his girlfriend is related to his boyfriend. Worst of all, it's all those goddamn memories of war, constantly interrupted by the overly chatty dead folks breezing through the afterlife. Besides, he's so busy solving his ethical dilemmas that there's barely any time to solve a murder- even if it's his own.
A compulsively readable dark comedy about life, death, and everything in between, Chats with the Dead, exposes the plight of a country caught in civil war. Its deliciously compelling absurdity holds you in thrall right from the very first page, and up to its startling denouement, constantly upending its own premise with its staggering humanity.
Shehan Karunatilaka delivers a classic whodunit with a brilliant twist.
Long listed for the Dublin Impac Prize in 2012
A rollicking, racy, fast paced read of a medical intern's first year at the prestigious St Ivanhoe Hospital. Dr Manjula Mendis, first generation immigrant in an unnamed Western country is the hope and salvation of his immigrant parents. His adventures both in the hospital and out of it, his quest for love amidst the plotting and planning of an arranged marriage ensure that this novel will keep the reader either incredulous at the range of medical oddities presented or keep them grinning at the misadventures that seem intent on following our unlikely hero.
Chilli, Chicks & Heart Attacks is a light-hearted rollercoaster read, fluently written, in snappy and colourful language... Sanjaya's strength is in fleshing out his characters – Renuka Sadanandan
Writing with keen insight into the psyche of the displaced, Channa Wickremesekera, author of Distant Warriors and Walls, brings his characters into the close confines of a boat escaping a conflict zone. Will a series of unfortunate events precipitate disaster on them before nature unleashes a savage storm? Only time will tell as they race inexorably toward their destiny.
'A powerful and disturbing tale of our times in which the historical and the allegorical are combined with consummate skill. Channa Wickremesekera is among the most astute, inventive and courageous of Sri Lankan diasporic writers today' – Suvendrini Perera
'The novel can be read as a counter narrative of the colonial voyage... It is unromantic and unsentimental, even in some of its more tender moments, like that of the child seeking the whereabouts of the kitten she had brought on board or in the more horrifying ones , like the spraying of an 'insubordinate' passenger by the rebel leader, with bullets. A remarkable feature of its textuality is its refusal to produce a 'human' alternative to the political dilemma of nations and nationalities, borders and boundaries' – Sumathy Sivamohan
A few months after the 1983 riots, a Sinhalese family leaves Sri Lanka for America. The two children, Yasodhara and Lanka adapt to their new life quickly but memories of their childhood on a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean are seared into their souls. Meanwhile, Saraswathi lives in the middle of the war torn country struggling to be a teenager in a land that is anything but normal.
Covering three quarters of a century of Sri Lanka's past, this beautifully written novel combines harsh reality, love and tenderness with astonishing insight.
'Lyrical, heartfelt and awash with imagery: Island of a Thousand Mirrors expresses a deep love of the country and a lingering sadness at what Sri Lanka has done to itself' – Shehan Karunatilaka, author of Chinaman
'Nayomi Munaweera pulls you into this book's big-hearted embrace with fierce, poetic language and striking imagery. The three women at the core of the ambitious, globe-spanning story show us, heart-breakingly, that we are linked by more than nation, more than race, more, even than blood. A dark, beautiful transporting debut' – V. V. Ganeshananthan, author of Love Marriage
'In Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Nayomi Munaweera writes with ferocity, fire and poetry of the incomprehensible madness of civil war and its effects upon those caught within it, whether in the villages and cities of Sri Lanka, or half a world away. A masterful, incendiary debut' – Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander
Winner of the Commonwealth Prize
When Tristan Lorne accidentally summons the demon Appollyon to Earth, he becomes a game-changer in the eternal combat of good against evil. Now unleashed, Appollyon wreaks havoc and destruction under the guise of crime, natural disasters and wars. Those killed by him awaken to find themselves in Olympus, a realm of four islands, ruled by two mysterious elders, who ally with magical creatures and plot to defeat the demon. When a devastating confrontation brings Tristan here, little does he know that his journey of magic, mystery and self discovery is only about to begin. KNIGHTS OF OLYMPUS, the first of the Tristan's Conquest trilogy is a gripping tale that bridges worlds of ancient magic and prophecy, where some are destined by their choices to become either heroes or villains.
The first ever such, Fantasy-Adventure novel by a Sri Lankan Author. A remarkable debut!
Long listed for Dublin Impac Prize in 2012
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Seelawathie, a young village girl is brought to the city to care for Cat, the daughter of a prominent Colombo family. With her parents involved with each other and their active social life, Cat soon comes to regard Seelawathi as her parent and best friend. They build their own happy microcosmic life within the large household and are relatively content until Seelawathie falls in love. Her forbidden relationship challenges the rigid boundaries of society and leads to a cataclysmic end of innocence. The Lament of the Dhobi Woman explores the issue of class in Colombo society and the fragile intricacies of love and forgiveness.
The story and the telling of it are fast paced with many events crowded in, so that the reader's interest is captured by the first sentence and held – Nanda Pethiyagoda
This book is one of those that one does not want to put down until the read is over... Perhaps The Lament Of The Dhobi Woman can be used as a story that teaches good values in the realm of human sexuality... All the readers of this book must thank Roberts for the good story. I hope that she will give us more – Sydney Knight
Beautifully structured, captivatingly descriptive and emotionally tugging at your heartstrings The Lament of the Dhobi Woman is well worth reading - Ruwini Jayawardana
Do you remember when you first fell in love? Do you remember the unrestrained joys and plummeting sorrows of adolescence? Do you remember the confrontation that each new day brought? Enter Kala's life. This sensitive novel about first love and heart break is a complex bitter sweet coming of age story that looks at the modern urban Sri Lankan youth in a new and fresh way. Shehani Gomes navigates us through the perilous and uncharted waters of the young adult, in her exceptionally perceptive debut novel that takes an honest look at a young woman's challenges and triumphs in life.
'If all this outpouring of her creativity found form in a first novel, one hopes for more writing in print from Shehani' – Lakmali Gunwardana
'The book is honest and alive, and its voice, Gomes's voice, is as confident as any young female writer I have read recently...Learning to Fly is more than brave in its formal experimentation. But its strange and, sometimes, difficult structure is not simply an exercise in avant-garde literary practice, but a form that allows the content, the messiness of the protagonist's struggle, to become themselves amidst death and conflict and discrimination, to mirror the novel's setting's own troubled journey towards selfhood' – Vincent Poturica
'Definitely not your average adolescent love story. Shehani Gomes' debut novel- Learning to Fly, having been nominated for the Gratiaen Award of 2005, takes a look into the darker, less explored aspect of adolescence and first love...Shehani's unique writing style complements the way in which characters have been brought to life...She not only grips the reader but makes the reader think, analyze, re-read and analyze again, making her debut novel a very stimulating read- one which brings us to hope for more from her in the very near future' – Tahnee Hopman
Together, they are forced to test the limits of friendship, the bonds of marriage and the boundaries of love as they learn with each passing moment that not everything society teaches us is true. Their journey of love and hate begins with an unexpected kiss, leading them to an end that will define who they become.
But he was lying there beside her, waiting for her answer. A stranger. They were strangers.
She turned slowly away from him, towards the window. And against the bright blue sky, she saw the storks flying away in formation, an arrow in the sky. They'd started their long journey at last, back to their other home. They'd dared to dream again. And roam the skies for something they'd loved and lost, perhaps.
'Perhaps,' she said turning back.
In poetic vignettes set against the fascinating exotics of Australia and France, Chandani Lokugé weaves a haunting and meditative story on the spectral gains and losses of travel, the nature of its transience. Through it, she dignifies with grace and tenderness, our unassuageable yearning, when we have lost everything and even ourselves, to anchor to something, someone, somewhere, and the unexpected moment of our arrival.
"A haunting, mystical reading experience, suffused with history, art, and recovery from trauma. An inspired travelogue... the damaged genius of Van Gogh brooding over the narrative, with hints of both joy and anguish." - Chris Ringrose
Cello States comes from the town of Corduroy and is definitely from the wrong side of the tracks. He escapes his life of drugs and gangs in the world of books, language and words, but when his father, a small time drug dealer clashes with a rival gang, he is forced to leave home. This drives Cello on a crime spree that eventually takes him to Melbourne, where he meets and falls in love with Oya Seyesene, a girl far removed from his world of violence and poverty. Half Sri Lankan, beautiful Oya is a child of privilege who despite having everything in life yearns for something else. Encouraged by her parents to find herself, Oya starts working at the Foundry, an avant-garde theatre where Cello has been working for the past few years. But it is a relationship fraught with tension and in danger of being overshadowed by the secret that Cello was part of a terrible crime that involved her family.
"An artful, beautifully written novel, dismantling the myth of a classless Australia. In turn black comic, lyrical and dark, Oya, Cello, and Planet Earth is wide ranging and insightful, exploring the rigid boundaries of power and privilege but also the possibilities of finding connection against the odds" - Kate Ryan, winner, Writers Prize, 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature
One late spring morning, Uma awakens to a life in which her relationships – to lover, to husband, to son – seem unbearably tangled. In capturing its searing and intimate moments, the story transcends into a meditation on love and betrayal, grief and redemption.
'The heart-breaking clarity of Chandani Laokugé's writing resonates long after reading Softly, As I Leave You.'
'Chandani Lokugé writes with unfailing verbal felicity, in the language of the men and women of our time, over the whole range of human communication.'
Longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC award
Shortlisted for the Fairway Literary Prize
In a time of upheaval, can Nala keep her family together?
The capital city – a little boy watches a monk wrap himself in flames… A village in Jaffna – a little girl is bursting with life…
Nala and Ranjan are on the brink of an exciting future. They will meet, marry and fall in love. They will set up house and have children. They will map out their future together, but destiny has other plans for them. Will they survive?
The SONG OF THE SUN GOD is a deeply moving saga spanning three continents and three generations. Lush physical details and an emotional recounting of events as they relentlessly unfold, reveal a heart-wrenching story of family, love, laughter, sorrow and new beginnings.
Shortlisted for the Fairway Prize, 2018
Within the confines of the Galle Fort, Yasmin and her best friend Penny enjoy an idyllic childhood of sea swims, bike rides, and movies in a world that was fun, glamorous and free. But Yasmin comes from a tightly knit, conformist community that thrives on tradition, family bonds and honour, and eventually her friendship with Penny must end.
This sharply insightful memoir depicts a young Muslim girl's struggle to balance the traditions of a loving yet conservative father, who wants to keep her safe, against the more liberal Westernized Sri Lankan world outside. Stay, Daughter is a beautifully crafted story suffused with love, humour, and compassion. A memoir that provides a glimpse into the microcosmic Galle Fort Muslim community of the 1960s post-independent Sri Lanka.
A unique and important voice of our time - that of Muslim women.
But Kairo is at a loose end. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat and the religious right are flexing their muscles. Kairo's hard-working mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyite father grumbles over the state of the nation between his secret flutters on horseraces in faraway England. All Kairo wants to do is hide in his room and flick over second-hand westerns and superhero comics, or escape on his bicycle and daydream.
Then he meets the magnetic teenage Jay, and his whole world is turned inside out.
A budding naturalist and a born rebel, Jay keeps fish and traps birds for an aviary he is building in the garden of his grand home. The adults in Jay's life have no say in what he does or where he goes: he holds his beautiful, fragile mother in contempt, and his wealthy father seems fuelled by anger. But his Uncle Elvin, suave and worldly, is his encourager. As Jay guides him from the realm of make believe into one of hunting-guns and fast cars and introduces him to a girl - Niromi - Kairo begins to understand the price of privilege and embarks on a journey of devastating consequence.
Taut and luminous, graceful and wild, Suncatcher is a poignant coming-of-age novel about difficult friendships and sudden awakenings. Mesmerizingly it charts the loss of innocence and our recurring search for love - or consolation - bringing these extraordinary lives into our own.
Angela finds herself flying into the devastated region of Banda Aceh as a researcher for the UN. Enthusiastic and committed, the young American woman arrives at a place swarming with aid workers, and she soon enters a world that is nothing like what she has known.
a tropical paradise of golden beaches, mist-shrouded mountains carpeted with tea fields, 2000-year-old cities and archaeological monuments - a land of apparent peace and tranquility. It also evokes a brutal, thirty-year civil war, riven with death, destruction, and racial divides.
Here is a story of a boy growing up in Sri Lanka in the midst of all that beauty and in the run-up to those bitter times. It paints a picture at once familiar and unexpected, with storytelling that is revealing, deeply personal, funny, and sometimes emotional.
Today, young minds are often spent immersed in virtual worlds where long conversations are a thing of the past. To pass on his family history from generation to generation, a migrant father from Sri Lanka writes a record of his family for his son who grew up in Canada. This book is written as a gift to his son and posterity before the story is lost to the shifting sands of time.
This is a tale that brings back memories and nostalgia, it is a tale that you will not expect, one that will surprise and charm you.
In his second book, Sam Bunny bravely engages with the problems of asylum-seekers in Australia and compels readers to empathise wholeheartedly with their 'othered' existence. Could the plight of the inhabitants of The Lot be fictitious after all?
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