“A rollicking magic-realist take on a recent bloody period in Sri Lankan history, set in an unpeaceful afterlife. It is messy and chaotic in all the best ways. It is also a pleasure to read: Karunatilaka writes with tinder-dry wit and an unfaltering ear for prose cadences.”
— Kate McLoughlin, book review, The TLS, September 16, 2022
Before the pandemic, I was an ESL tutor for a young refugee from Sri Lanka. He was such a delight to work with — so eager to learn and pleased to be settling in the US. He was totally mum, though, when it came to Sri Lanka and his background there. I didn’t push for details. But my heart broke for him. I had done enough basic research about the Sri Lankan civil war to know . . . I probably didn’t want to know. And now that I’m in the midst of reading our summer Read With Us selection – The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka – I’m getting, well . . . let’s just say . . . a keener sense of things.
Perhaps that isn’t the best way for me to “sell” this book to you. Or to entice you to join us in reading – and discussing – last year’s Booker Prize winning novel. But. I’m hoping you’ll join us. I’m just getting started with this book, but I can already tell it’s going to be one of those books (much like Shuggie Bain and Young Mungo) that will . . . rearrange my thinking. Once I got past the initial 75 pages* I found the rhythm of this intriguing book, and now I’m having a hard time putting it down! (I’m not sure how to describe the book, really, but one of the Booker judges called it “Sri Lankan history as whodunnit, thriller, and existential fable” and that seems to be a good description.)
For even more information about this season’s selection, be sure to check out our Read With Us reference page (click the link — or in the menu bar, above, or in the side bar) for background info and other “goodies” about the book. (As of this morning, though, I’m still doing the site update. So . . . it’s coming. It just might not be there immediately when you click. But it will be. Soon.)
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is currently available on Amazon in hardback ($24.78), paperback ($10.99), Kindle ($9.20) or Audible versions (1 credit). Please check your local bookstores for a copy — and, of course, the book should also be available at most libraries.
I do hope you’ll pick up a copy and Read With Us!
Our book discussion day for Trespasses will be Tuesday, September 19. Bonny, Carole, and I will each post discussion questions on our blogs that day, and then – later in the evening (7:00 pm Eastern time zone) – we’ll be hosting a live book discussion/meet-up on Zoom. If you’d like to join the Zoom (and we’d really love it if you would!) please let me know in the comments or send me an email (link in sidebar).
Read With Us!
Something NEW for Read With Us readers . . .
We have a reader-themed prize package for one lucky Read With Us reader! All you need to do . . . is let us know that you’re reading the book this summer (in the comments or by email), and you’ll be entered in our give-away.
* If you happened to have read/listened to Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, you may recall maybe being a bit . . . confused . . . about things at the beginning. Seven Moons . . . kinda begins in a similar manner . . . a little hard to follow and rather strange. Hang in there! Just like with Lincoln in the Bardo (which I highly recommend if you haven’t already read it), you’ll find your rhythm — and be so glad you did!