The internationally celebrated (and Booker Prize-shortlisted) author returns with a dazzling coming-of-age story set in post-independence Sri Lanka

"A master storyteller."
--The New York Times

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.

Product Details

$24.99  $22.99
New Press
Publish Date
March 17, 2020
5.8 X 1.0 X 8.6 inches | 0.9 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Romesh Gunesekera is the author of Monkfish Moon, Reef, The Sandglass, The Match, and Noontide Toll. He grew up in Sri Lanka and the Philippines and now lives in London.


Praise for Suncatcher
"As a coming-of-age novel, Suncatcher is memorable and sometimes brilliant in its ability to map the tensions between leader and follower, the arc and trajectory of boys trying so impatiently to become men. This is also a wise and poignant portrait of a country--Ceylon before it became Sri Lanka--caught in the moment before it loses its innocence." --Financial Times "Gunesekera's prose is lush yet luminously clear, and Kairo--as he deciphers the world around him and his place in that world--is the perfect guide to the book's turbulent setting."
--Boston Globe "An enchanting novel. . . . [It] calls to mind the early chapters of Brideshead Revisited . . . [and offers a] magical evocation of a world where it seems that everything should remain as it is, while you know sadly, that it can't and won't."
--Allan Massie, The Scotsman "A gripping novel about [a] country on the brink. . . . Harking back to the 1960s in a period piece suffused with foreboding, Gunesekera captures the first rumblings of the cataclysm."
--Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times (London) "[An] engrossing coming-of-age tale. . . . Gunesekera successfully captures an adolescent's cravings for a wealthy lifestyle and the ensuing loss of innocence in the face of tumult. This will move readers." --Publishers Weekly "A lyrical and evocative portrait of a Sri Lankan boyhood friendship and the life lessons that came with it."
--Kirkus Reviews "Gunesekera's latest is an entrancing examination of how we are marked by our earliest friendships and how' even in the closest relationships' it is difficult to know if those we love are capable of loving us back."