WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2022
A searing satire set amid the murderous mayhem of Sri Lanka beset by civil war
Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest.
But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.
Ten years after his prizewinning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Karunatilaka is back with a rip-roaring epic, full of mordant wit and disturbing truths.
‘Fizzes with energy, imagery and ideas against a broad, surreal vision of the Sri Lankan civil wars’ The Booker judges
‘Recalls the mordant wit and surrealism of Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls or Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita … Karunatilaka has done artistic justice to a terrible period in his country’s history’ Guardian
‘Outstanding… the most significant work of Sri Lankan fiction in a decade.’ New European