by Ashok Ferrey

*** Long listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 ***

*** Short listed for the Atta Galatta Prize 2017

*** Published by Penguin, India, all other rights available


Ashok Ferrey is Sri Lanka’s biggest-selling author in English. He has never been translated into any other language.


I was born ugly.  That’s what my mother said.” So begins the story of Sonny Mahadewala who leads a dual life; between his adoptive England where cohabits with a privileged American, and the mixed blessings of Mahadewala Walauwa – the big house on the mountain belonging to his father’s people in Kandy, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka – where a troubled existence has earned him both honour and shame.  For Sonny’s mother, a wonderfully maleficent anti-heroine, is convinced that demons possess this ugly son of hers.  Demons and the devil himself circumscribe the playing field of this book, whether seated in the draughty chapels of Oxford or roaming the Kandyan countryside and, through their clever interplay, they speak of larger horrors with able grace.

For who in this world is utterly good or utterly evil – and who indeed, is the devil?

* * *

 “A wonderful writer.  This lovely, surprising book will enchant and amuse.  It is, quite simply, a triumph.”  – Alexander McCall Smith

Laugh-out-funny but also thoughtful, moving and beautifully written.” – Ian Rankin on ‘Serendipity’



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