Seeing as we were going to Sri Lanka, I read 3 books by Sri Lankan writers over the last few months.
First was Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka, a very clever and witty “mockumentary” novel about Sri Lanka’s greatest spin bowler. As well as being about cricket (and he nails the cricketing ego perfectly) it satirizes Sri Lankan society, with its issues of class, social status, ethnicity, drinking and anger. Having just returned from Colombo I can tell you that he captures the feel of the city brilliantly. Reviews have said that you don’t need a knowledge of cricket to read this, but I think you’ll miss a lot if you know nothing about the game.Perhaps a catchier title may have got this book more notice. 85/100
The good little Ceylonese girl by Ashok Ferrey
Like most short story anthologies this is up and down, some excellent writing here, some poor writing and some so local I have know idea what the story is about. However Ferrey doesn’t pull any punches as he covers a a large swathe of Sri Lankan society. Some stories are set in London and interestingly these are some of the best. 73/100
In the skin of the lion by Michael Ondaatje
Nothing really Sri Lankan about this book other than the author’s birthplace. Only read this as my daughter was reading it for the HSC. A pretentious book about men and work and men that work and sweating men and some women that have sex and Toronto. A few points for some interesting facts about bridge and tunnel construction. 25/100