In this remarkable debut novel, a boy’s bittersweet passage to maturity and sexual awakening is set against escalating political tensions in Sri Lanka, during the seven years leading up to the 1983 riots.
Arjie Chelvaratnam is a Tamil boy growing up in an extended family in Colombo. It is through his eyes that the story unfolds and we meet a delightful, sometimes eccentric cast of characters. Arjie’s journey from the luminous simplicity of childhood days into the more intricately shaded world of adults - with its secrets, its injustices, and its capacity for violence - is a memorable one, as time and time again the true longings of the human heart are held against the way things are.
“A powerful and beautifully written novel....” (Literary Review (UK))
“Shyam Selvadurai has brought back from his Sri Lankan childhood a glittering and wise novel. Funny Boy keeps repeating with quiet conviction that the human condition can, in spite of everything, be joyful. You are not alone, it says to the reader I understand you. I was there. I remember.” (Alberto Manguel)
“He spins a subtle web that holds readers captive....” (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)
“Lyrical, moving, and deeply perceptive. This isn’t the first coming-of-age story ever written, but I doubt there’s been one quite like it.” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)