Sri-Lanka comes to my mind each time I make a travel plan, even though travelling is not my favourite thing in the world. And books have played a major role in making me fall in love with this lush land and it’s culture. My top 3 books set in Sri-Lanka includes ‘Beautiful People’ by Amanthi Harris, ‘Upon A Sleepless Isle’ by Andrew Fidel Fernando and ‘Suncatcher’ by Romesh Gunasekara.
Beautiful Place by Amanthi Harris
Beautiful Place is a novel about leaving and losing home and making family. It is about being oppressed and angry and wanting a better life – but how is a better life to be defined?
The Villa Hibiscus is a house by the sea on the exquisite southern coast of Sri Lanka, home to Padma, a young Sri Lankan woman. The owner of the villa, Gerhardt, is an elderly Austrian architect to whom Padma was taken when young by her scheming father, Sunny, who had hoped to seduce the wealthy new foreigner in the area with his attractive child. Gerhardt adopts Padma and pays Sunny to stay away until she’s grown up – when Gerhardt expects to have sent Padma to university, far away.
But Padma fails her exams and is lonely in the city, gladly returning to her beloved old home by the sea. With Gerhardt’s help she creates a guesthouse at the villa and soon guests start to arrive, opening new vistas for Padma through their friendship and love.
Upon a Sleepless Isle by Andrew Fidel Fernando
Dense Green forests in Yala, white-sand coasts in Trincomalee, azure waters off the South Coast, Anuradhapura’s ancient temples, and cricket. Civil war, political assassinations, internally displaced communities, industrial-scale corruption. All are Sri Lanka.
As are smug bureaucrats, nosy neighbours, and stray dogs with serious axes to grind. Through the eyes of Andrew Fidel Fernando, cricket writer par excellence, both a local and a tourist in his home country, Sri Lanka comes alive as he hurtles down hills in Kandy, breathes in the history at the rock fortress of Sigiriya, grapples with the aftermath of war in Jaffna, and has himself evicted from restaurants near Galle. Weaving through all manner of villages, paddy fields, mountains, jungles and marshlands, and pausing for the pests at grimy guesthouses and the vacationers of luxury hotels, Fernando has the time for every genre of person and wildlife in this chaotic, exquisite, frustrating, bewitching, tumultuous and intoxicating land.
Hilariously witty yet wistfully sombre, Upon a Sleepless Isle is the story of a country and a people caught between long historical traditions and global capitalism, resulting in this ingenious paradise.
Suncatcher by Romesh Gunasekara
A coming-of-age story in Sixties Sri Lanka by the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Reef
Ceylon is on the brink of change. But young Kairo is at loose ends. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat, and the religious right are flexing their muscles. Kairo’s hardworking mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyist father grumbles over the state of the nation between his secret bets on horse races in faraway England. All Kairo wants to do is hide in his room and flick through secondhand 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. As Jay guides 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 consequence.
Taut and luminous, graceful and wild, Suncatcher is a poignant coming-of-age novel about difficult friendships and sudden awakenings set among the tumult of 1960s Sri Lanka, that confirms Gunesekera’s status as one of today’s most lyrical writers.
3 Books Set in Sri-Lanka that explores multiple aspects of this country.Tweet
Other posts you might like:
- Translated Books by Women Authors
- Book Review- Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera|Asian-Latinx Representation
- Book Review- Come On In|Immigration Story
I’d love to hear from you!
- Would you recommend me any other book?
- Do you plan to read any of these?
Disclaimer: Affiliate links in this post can help me earn a little commission. It won’t cost you extra for your purchase. Share this post if you loved reading it.