Suncatcher | Romesh Gunesekera
208 pages | The New Press | Hardcover
Ceylon is on the brink of change. But young Kairo is at loose ends. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat, and the religious right are flexing their muscles. Kairo's hardworking mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyist father grumbles over the state of the nation between his secret bets on horse races in faraway England. All Kairo wants to do is hide in his room and flick through secondhand 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.
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. As Jay guides Kairo 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.
Taut and luminous, graceful and wild, Suncatcher is a poignant coming-of-age novel about difficult friendships and sudden awakenings set among the tumult of 1960s Sri Lanka, that confirms Gunesekera's status as one of today's most lyrical writers.