Suncatcher by Romesh Gunesekera is a work of historical fiction. It hit the shelves in November 2019. The book was published by Bloomsbury. It has recently been made available as an e-book.
1964. Ceylon is on the brink of change. But Kairo is at a loose end. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat and the religious right is flexing their muscles. Kairo’s hard-working mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyite father grumbles over the state of the nation between his secret flutters on horseraces in faraway England. All Kairo wants to do is hide in his room and flick over second-hand 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.
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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. The adults in Jay’s life have no say in what he does or where he goes: he holds his beautiful, fragile mother in contempt, and his wealthy father seems fuelled by anger. But his Uncle Elvin, suave and worldly, is his encourager. As Jay guides him 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.
About the author
Romesh Gunesekera is the author of many acclaimed works of fiction including Reef, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Sandglass, winner of the inaugural BBC Asia Award, and The Match, the ground-breaking cricket novel. His debut collection of stories, Monk?sh Moon, was a New York Times Notable Book. His last book Noontide Toll captured a vital moment in post-war Sri Lanka. His fiction has been translated into over a dozen languages and he is the recipient of many awards including a Premio Mondello in Italy. He was born in Colombo and lives in London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.