WHAT BOOK would Booker prize winner 2022 Shehan Karunatilaka take to a desert island


WHAT BOOK would Booker prize winner 2022 Shehan Karunatilaka take to a desert island

. . . are you reading now?

I have a few books on the go, but I’m deepest into The Promise by Damon Galgut and Confessions Of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

Very different reading experiences. but both are compelling and mind-expanding. Having travelled with Galgut, the great South African Booker winner, I see the man in his prose. It’s gentle, precise, insightful, melancholy but warm.

Like many of my fellow Sri Lankans, I’ve taken an interest in economics and geopolitics after our island’s recent collapse. I’m not sure if Perkins will do much to assuage my weary world view, but it makes for fascinating and grim reading.

Shehan Karunatilaka caught the reading bug with The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog by M.V. Carey

Shehan Karunatilaka caught the reading bug with The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog by M.V. Carey

. . . would you take to a desert island?

Just one? It will be something I can re-read until I’m rescued. Though I can’t choose between Adventures In The Screen Trade by William Goldman or Sum by David Eagleman. Goldman’s memoirs have enough story, wisdom and humour to keep me cheery, though Eagleman’s vignettes on the afterlife may help me devise imaginary escape plans.

. . . first gave you the reading bug?

The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog by M.V. Carey. I had to look up Carey’s name as these books were marketed as Alfred Hitchcock And The Three Investigators, and were huge in 1980s Sri Lanka. They were much more sophisticated than other teen detective franchises and I wanted to read every book in the series. The writers were anonymous and I had no idea who Hitchcock was, but it didn’t matter. They had me spellbound.

Wanting to read everything an author has written doesn’t happen very often these days. Though it happened a year later when I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and then, predictably, when I discovered Kane And Abel by Jeffrey Archer.

. . . left you cold?

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy left me cold, but perhaps not in the way the question implies. I felt the need for a warm blanket, a fireplace and a hug after finishing it, though I cannot stop re-reading it. The cold can be addictive.

I’ve been nonplussed by many acclaimed books that sell in the gazillions, but no author wants to diss another book publicly and start a literary feud. Best to say that it was probably more to do with my taste and not their skill, though not in all cases.

  • The Seven Moons Of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka is out now (Sort Of Books, £9.99).



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