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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  33 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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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Bookishbong  Moumita
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 ch
Mridula Gupta
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 fasc ...more
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
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
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 manoeuvri
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,
Nabila Shaikh
Suncatcher is a coming-of-age novel set in 1964 Ceylon (now Srilanka). It's about the friendship between Jay and Kairo at a time of political unrest which gave them both the perfect opportunity to explore the streets and their youth.
There were both pros and cons to the book. Firstly, the writing was so beautiful and vivid that it made me feel like I was there with the characters travelling through the picturesque and charming city.
Secondly, the author also wrote well fleshed out characters; al
Bonnye Reed
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Romesh Gunesekera, and The New Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this work of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of Suncatcher: A Novel. It is a visit to another world very well pictured, and a book you cannot put down.

Suncatcher is a coming of ago tale covering a generation of youngsters caught in the political mess that was 1964 in the land that would become Sri Lanka. J
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 y
A light bildungsroman set in Sri Lanka, Romesh Gunesekera tells a story of a young boy growing up in Colombo in 1964. The narration is beautifully rendered by the author - though I am not sure if Sri Lankan teenagers at the time would've communicated in highfalutin English vocabularies among themselves. A similar issue of children having an over mature voice also held me back a bit when I was reading the excellently written Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli. Contrariwise, Deepa Anappara, ...more
Pretty 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 tak
Osama Siddique
'Reef' is what first introduced me to the languid and sensuous writing of Romesh Gunesekera. And its characteristic joy in and celebration of nature. This is long before I happily found myself on the same panel as him at a literary festival in London in 2018. As I have discovered, few writers possess a better match between the mood of their literary output and their personalities. Gentle, somewhat reticent and evasive, but always pleasant, friendly, intriguing and perceptive, Gunesekera charms a ...more
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 protagonist's father, a Trotskyist and a civil servant, who also likes a b ...more
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’ relationsh ...more
Kumari de Silva
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I assumed the boys in the story were like 10 and 12 when the book opens because? Because 1) They're riding around on bikes, not in cars. 2) They meet at a milk bar. They drink Chocolac and Vanillac not Coke-a-cola. 3) The narrator is reading comic books not novels 4) Interest in girls is budding, not fully established. HOWEVER - - upon reading the other reviews I realized that most people assume the kids in the book are teenagers. Well, that makes sense because - - 1) The kids are learning to dr ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for sending me this book to review

Gunesekara certainly does not waste any time on describing the location of the novel. It is later In the novel that we come across breathtaking descriptions of beauty and the landscapes of Ceylon— not Sri Lanka—as the novel is set in the 1960s when Bandaranaike was the Prime Minister and the country as still Ceylon.

We are immediately plunged into the story. The novel starts with the meeting of the two protagonists: Kairo and Jay. Both seem t
The Reader Ignites
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a coming-of-age story set in 1964 Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Kairo, a young working class boy, is restless as the country around him is changing. His journalist father, is unhappy with the right wing government and his mother, working in a radio station, worries that he is isn’t studying enough, as the schools are closing down. However Jay likes to bury himself in books, getting lost in westerns, where he couldn’t be further from interested in his schooling.
As the days continue, he meets
Mayank Nailwal
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
The story of two boys: one reticent (the narrator) and the other maverick. One economically confined, the other affluent. There is barely anything new about the characters in Romesh Gunesekra's Sun Catcher - except - they are all Sri Lankan's.

It's the only reason that catches your interest, at least in the first chapter, to explore their merry vicinity and messy political scenario. But after 80-90 pages, which is weirdly segmented as just one chapter, you begin to lose your eagerness in the sto
Mar 29, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: arc, int-asia
Unfortunately, I dnf-ed this novel after the first third or so. With its setting of Sri Lanka, it was interesting and it was also written quite well, but just not interesting enough for me. On page 80-somthing, I still had not figured out what the plot was, why I should care to read this novel. Was it political? Then I feel the choice of protagonist, a young boy, was the wrong one. Or it did not affect him enough to affect me reading about his struggles. Was it coming of age? There was not nearl ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A coming of age story based in Sri Lanka which evokes the landscape of childhood. I have to admit I know very little of the political background of Sri Lanka and I found that the story transports you to the lush environment with undertones of the imminent political upheaval. Some of the insights are beautifully written and instantly takes you back to that strange, confusing time of being a kid on the cusp of becoming a teenager.
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 Kairo ...more
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
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 i
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 around it has
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked the way the characters developed and the underlying political developments are articulated exactly as a child would know them... you know something is going on but not what.
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aoc
Gunesekera’s evocative novel opens with the protagonist, Kairo, freewheeling on the dusty tarmac on a hot, sticky afternoon in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Kairo's life takes an unexpected turn, as soon as he meets Jay, an intrepid adventurer and budding naturalist, from a wealthy family. As Kairo gets to know Jay, he is drawn into the world of class, privilege, and eccentricities. A classic bildungsroman that explores the fragile social class boundaries in a multifaith postcolonial Sri Lanka.

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.
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 impr ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-extra
At one level, this is a coming of age story narrated by a young teenager and mainly about his slightly older and better-off friend, the charismatic Jay. Jay is interested in wildlife, amongst other things, so there are detailed descriptions of birds, trees, etc. (I assume the author is also interested in the wildlife.)
The setting is newly independent Sri Lanka in the 1960s, under Sirimavo Bandaranaike's first premiership. We learn quite a lot about attitudes of Sri Lankans towards the former col
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
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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 Awa

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