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Funny Boy: A Novel By Shyam Selvadurai Cover Image

Funny Boy: A Novel (Paperback)


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Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Deepa Mehta—coming to Netflix December 10, 2020!

An evocative coming-of-age novel about growing up gay in Sri Lanka during the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict—one of the country’s most turbulent and deadly periods.

Arjie is “funny.”

The second son of a privileged family in Sri Lanka, he prefers staging make-believe wedding pageants with his female cousins to battling balls with the other boys. When his parents discover his innocent pastime, Arjie is forced to abandon his idyllic childhood games and adopt the rigid rules of an adult world. Bewildered by his incipient sexual awakening, mortified by the bloody Tamil-Sinhalese conflicts that threaten to tear apart his homeland, Arjie painfully grows toward manhood and an understanding of his own “different” identity.

Refreshing, raw, and poignant, Funny Boy is an exquisitely written, compassionate tale of a boy’s coming-of-age that quietly confounds expectations of love, family, and country as it delivers the powerful message of staying true to one’s self no matter the obstacles.

Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Funny Boy, his first novel, won the W.H. Smith/ Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award in the United States. He is the author of Cinnamon Gardens and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, and the editor of an anthology, Story-wallah! A Celebration of South Asian Fiction. His books have been published in the United States, United Kingdom, and India, and in translation.

“A marvelous first novel about growing up gay in Sri Lanka…from a brilliant…writer whose next book cannot arrive here quickly enough.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[A] poignant coming-of-age novel…. With deft humor and a keen eye, Selvadurai…captures his protagonist’s difficult passage into his own identity-of which his homosexuality is just one component. And it is with deep, wistful feeling that he ties that story to larger themes of family and country.” — Publishers Weekly

“Through the details of family life, the intimacies and exchanges, Selvadurai, much like E. M. Forster, reveals truths subtly, with poignancy and grace.” — Booklist

“Selvadurai writes as sensitively about the emotional intensity of adolescence as he does about the wonder of childhood.” — New York Times Book Review