Book review | Suncatcher by Romesh Guneshekera

Author: Romesh Guneshekera 

Genre: Literary fiction

No. of pages: 312

Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing 

Published on: 28th November 2019 

Format: Hardcover 

My rating: ★★★☆☆

It's 1964 in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). There is a political change, people are afraid to step out and no one knows what the future holds. But Kairo, a school-boy is least affected by it. His world revolves around American comic books, chasing insects on his bicycle, catching the sun and Jay - an enigmatic teen just two years older than Kairo. Even though Kairo and Jay's world's are socio-economically far apart, they bod develop an unmatched bonding with each other. Kairo looks up to Jay - his carefree, rebellious and nature-loving self.

As Kairo starts hero-worshipping Jay, Kairo comes to realize about their differences. Their families are very unlike each other's, their way of living too. While Jay's family is driven by power and money, his father by anger and his mother by meek lavishness, and his boisterous uncle Elvin by adventures; Kairo's humble family is driven by rules-following parents who are simple government employees. As their relationship grows stronger, Kairo is hit with devastating news.

Author Romesh Guneshekera has beautifully crafted a book that explores the wildness of young boys. The concept of hero-worship is delectably shown through Kairo, who is ready to follow Jay wherever he can. Even Kairo and Jay's personalities contradict each other so much. I loved reading the tidbits of their characteristics. While Jay is a fearless young boy ready to explore the world even if it risks his life and others', Kairo is the eager follower of Jay, ready to learn new things just to impress his older friend, but one with a clear conscience and empathy. 

There are some books which are beautiful yet does make you feel about it. Suncatcher is one such book for me. Even though it managed to tug at my heart, it failed to enrapture me. I felt the book was a bit too stretched. I had been waiting for some crucial development from the very beginning, but even after 300 pages or the book didn't show anything interesting. In this part I was a bit disappointed with the book. 

The book has a melancholic tone to it. The story is narrated by Kairo and the author has done justice to show how the world is viewed from a young boy's perspective. The book has more descriptions and less dialogues. Personally, I feel that if the book had more dialogues and less descriptive writing, my reading experience would have been better. The author has added young boys' nuances in the book in a delectable way and I loved reading every part of it. 

This book might be the perfect addition to your shelf if you want to explore Sri Lankan literature. 

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.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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