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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A coming-of-age story in Sixties Sri Lanka by the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Reef

1964. Ceylon is on the brink of change. But Kairo is at a loose end. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat and the religious right are flexing their muscles. Kairo’s hard-working mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyite
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published November 28th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)
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  • Suncatcher by Romesh Gunesekera
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    Average rating 3.77  · 
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     ·  43 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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    Moumita Roy
    Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    The book reflects the social and political atmosphere of 1960s Ceylon (now Srilanka ). We witness the Coming-of-age with a young boy , Kairo, who has to take responsibilities beyond his age. Kairo's life change when he met Jay. Jay is just like the opposite pole of a magnet. Kairo starts to follow Jay everywhere and never wants to leave him .

    My thoughts.

    First I must admire the writing of the author . The plot first feels quite slow but gradually the book started to engraft me. Creating of the
    Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Kairo, born in a working-class family in the 1960’s Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) meets Jay, a boy who seeks adventure and thrill to cover up his hate for his rich, influential and stubborn father and his loathing for his sensitive mother. In the present scenario, Ceylon battles a political crisis, a perfect time for young minds such as Kairo and Jay to explore the streets. As Ceylon’s landscape changes gradually through the story so do Kairo’s perspective of things and what starts as a casual but ...more
    Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I make an effort to read internationally. I believe it’s important to sample global literary perspectives and it makes one a well rounded reader. So that was the main appeal of this book for me, its Sri Lankan setting. The story itself is a fairly prototypical bildungsroman set during a turbulent time to emphasize and highlight the dramatic events of a six month friendship between two boys from very different social strata. The main character is a kid from an average family, with pragmatical ...more
    Chitra Ahanthem
    Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    What happens when the young have to cope with the weight of the adult world around them: a world that is additionally being fractured by the push and pull of a political change that shows authoritarian control? This is the essence of this coming of age story set in Ceylon in 1964,narrated by Kairo whose life cannot be counted as anything remarkable till he meets an on the edge Jay who is his complete opposite in terms of temperament and family background.

    Jay is flamboyance personified with the
    Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
    Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: fiction-asia
    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

    I was blown away by Romesh Gunesekera's gorgeous prose throughout Suncatcher. It's such a beautifully written novel which vividly captures the sweltering and stifling atmosphere of 1960s Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was called back then). We see the nation at a social and political turning point, but through the eyes of young Kairo who isn't yet even old enough to really understand the dynamics of his own parents' relationship let alone the
    Fathima Ashab
    Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    HOW COME I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS AUTHOR?! I HAVE CERTAINLY MISSED A LOT. There are some authors whose work you would love instantly and die to read everything else by them. Romesh is that author to me. This book was beautiful in every way possible. He has depicted the imbalance of the social structure and hierarchy through the lives of two friends from two different backgrounds and their perspectives towards wild life and pretty much everything mundane around them. HOW CAN SOMEONE WRITE THAT ...more
    Murtaza Kuwarawala
    Title - Suncatcher

    Author - Romesh Gunesekara

    Genre - Coming of Age Historical Fiction

    So this is my first venture with a book based in Sri Lanka and I must say this was pretty impressive. Most of the coming of age books that I have come across these days had been revolving around fantasy but hardly I have come across books that even revolves around the political turmoil in the country and Suncatcher is one of them.

    'Suncatcher' by Romesh Gunesekara is a story of bonding and friendship between two
    Gunjan | Bookworm Reads
    Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    There are books that stay with you even after years of reading it. And for me, "Suncatcher by Romesh Gunesekera" is going to be on that list. While I was reading this book, I was constantly thinking about The Kite Runner because of the warmth it had and a whole range of emotions throughout the book.

    The book is based in Ceylan, Srilanka which is on the brink of change. It's a coming of age story, narrated by Kairo who is more like an observer of the lives of people around him. The day he met Jay,
    Pretty Little Bibliophile
    Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This was my first Gunesekera book and by god! Am I a fan now! Suncatcher was a beautiful and poignant coming-of-age novel or a bildungsroman, as we lit grads like to put it.
    The story is set in the 1960s Ceylon, erstwhile Sri Lanka, and it is a time of great political change all around. The reverberations of these political happenings resonate throughout the book and control how the adults act or what they say. At the center, we have the protagonist Kairo, a pretty much normal guy whose life
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
    This tale of friendship and coming-of-age is set in Ceylon in 1964 just before the looming political upheaval which will change the country for ever. Signs of the coming disruption are everywhere, but young Kairo is more concerned with his burgeoning friendship with the slightly older and more privileged Jay, a relationship which will change his own life for ever just as profoundly as the political situation. It’s a tender and insightful tale, which captures the fragility of the boys’ ...more
    Sarah M
    Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2019
    I received this as an E-ARC via Netgalley. A big thank you to them, and to the publishers, The New Press. All opinions are my own

    I found myself being very confused when reading this story as I couldn't put my finger on what the story itself was about. Not sure if this is a case of the translation of Gunesekera's book or that the story itself just didn't fit with me and what I expected from the description, which was describing a coming-of-age story. I couldn't really concentrate on the story
    Suncatcher is a slow builder, slowly pulling you in, wrapping you around the storyline, and it is impossible to put it down until you reach the end. Romesh Gunesekera’s prose is so easy to read, but it’s depth and beauty stick with you long after you have finished reading. And the luscious descriptions of the Sri Lankan landscape had me captivated, at times I could easily imagine them passing through my mind, as in a movie.

    Kairo is at that age when his main interests are comic books and his
    Alicia Allen
    Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    The Suncatcher takes place in the 60’s however, the time period doesn’t dictate the overall theme. One could read this story and frame it in another decade and it’s still just as good and just as remarkable.
    Kairo is a young and lonely boy. He is an only child. His mother works at the local radio station and when she’s not there she is taking dance lessons. His father works for the government, but when he isn’t working (which is often it seems) he is preaching to Kairo about politics or gambling
    Uday Singh
    Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
    When I picked this book up, taking cover & brief in context, I was expecting to see something similar to Khalid Hosseini, what I got instead was so much different. Was it at the same level or even better? Let me explain.

    I’ll be honest when I say that the last time I read something based around Sri Lanka was when I read about the Tamilian & Sinhala conflicts. Yes, I’ve missed out on a lot.

    Before going to the plot, I would say that the description of the story setting and the culture
    Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
    I thank The New Press and NetGalley for this ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

    I've read three of this author's other books. And with this one, I'm feeling mixed. There's a certain sense of suffocation and/or intimacy (the latter feels like the helplessness of adolescence when all/much feels possible yet removed or delayed).

    Two boys become friends during a time of turmoil in Sri Lanka. Both sets of parents have different political stances, reflecting the various fractions. And each parent
    The Content Binger
    Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
    This book was well written - it was easy to visualize the characters - two young boys on their adventures, both trying to escape the restrictions placed on them because of their family backgrounds. It was easy to see why Kairo was so attracted to Jay's confidence and self-assuredness, and Jay's life, which was so different from his own - it seemed to me like such a vacation from his own humdrum life. It's a very subtle book - there was not much conflict although I could feel the tension in ...more
    Krishne Tanneerbavi
    Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
    This coming of age story is set in Ceylon,Sri Lanka, in 1964. We follow the young and confused Kairo as he tries to navigate thorough the adult world filled with the political turmoil of the time.
    𝗜 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝗼𝗼; 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝘆 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴: 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄 𝘂𝗽, 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱’𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗶𝗲, 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝘆 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁. 𝗪𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗝𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻 𝘂𝗽 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀.
    Kairo and Jay comes from two different worlds in terms of family background and personalities.
    Garry Nixon
    Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Colombo, Ceylon (as it was then called) in 1964. The narrative and structure are comfortingly straightforward. So are the echoes of Gatsby and Brideshead. None of that diminishes the extent to which I fell into this story of adolescence and the way that the world has of crashing in. And why is it that boys who love nature nonetheless have a need to trap it and put it into cages or tanks? Several details caught my eye: the protgonist's father, a Trotskyist and a civil servant, who also likes a ...more
    I wish to preface this review with the statement that I am a very enthusiastic fan of Romesh Gunesekera’s writing since buying a copy of his debut work, Monkfish Moon, in Delhi in 1992. He is a lyrical writer who knows how to utilize a delicate touch to maximal effort.
    That said I was disappointed by the Sun-Catcher. A coming of age story, the style was much less spare and eloquent than his usual work. The extended prologue which culminated in a denouement near the ending isn’t suspenseful enough
    Suzanne Bhagan
    Thanks to The New Press, this was my first exposure to Romesh Gunesekera’s writing and boy, was it delicious! From the beginning, I was swept up in the nostalgic world of 1960s Sri Lanka – one filled with Chocolacs, exotic birds, dazzling natural landscapes, and posh mansions. However, Suncatcher’s scenery is not the main draw of this book. Instead, the coming of age story traces the friendship between Kairo and Jay, both trying to manoeuver adolescence in postcolonial Sri Lanka. If you like ...more
    Rachel Stansel
    Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
    A novel of a young boy in Sri Lanka during the time of unrest (when it was still Ceylon). We follow him and his family as well as his friendship with a wealthier local boy, Jay. Through them, their families and assorted other friends, Kairo tries to understand himself and his changing world. The people and places are vividly alive through the author's prose.

    Full disclosure- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    Bill Berger
    Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Never a fan of “coming of age” nevertheless I read this as I am a fan of Gunesekera, having read all his prior novels. Not as captivating as his prior novels but still a well written book. Many thanks to Edelweiss for advance copy.
    Sulagna Mondal
    Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: owned-books
    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 ...more
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    Romesh Gunesekera was born in Sri Lanka where he spent his early years. Before coming to Britain he also lived in the Philippines. He now lives in London. In 2010 he was writer in residence at Somerset House.

    His first novel, Reef, was published in 1994 and was short-listed as a finalist for the Booker Prize, as well as for the Guardian Fiction Prize. In the USA he was nominated for a New Voice
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