NEW DELHI: Man Booker Prize shortlisted Sri Lankan author Romesh Gunesekera’s new novel “Suncatcher” is a poignant coming-of-age story about difficult friendships and sudden awakenings.
Set against the backdrop of Sri Lanka in 1960s, it revolves around a child Kairo, who is at a loose end, as Ceylon is on the brink of change — schools are closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat and the religious right are flexing their muscles.
Here he meets the magnetic teenager Jay, and his whole world is “turned inside out”.
“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 (Kairo) 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 consequences,” said Bloomsbury.
The book, according to the publishers, charts the “loss of innocence and our recurring search for love – or consolation – bringing these extraordinary lives into our own”.
Gunesekera is the author of eight works of fiction, which have been translated into multiple languages. He is the recipient of many awards, including a Premio Mondello in Italy, he was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 1994 for “reef”.
His last book “Noontide Toll” captured a vital moment in post-war Sri Lanka.