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October 07 , 2007

Beggar's Feast


Randy Boyagoda's Beggar's Feast is a tour de force of a novel set in Sri Lanka about a man living in defiance of fate.

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This is the story of the end of the world - as told by a teenager."So as near as I could tell the end of the world began roughly about the time that Billy Carver’s butt rang - about halfway through the War of 1812."Sixteen year old Briar Gamble is having a bad day.It started with the cell phones singing for Santa Claus.Then came the…

Sam Kandy, born in 1899 in a poor village in the heart of Ceylon and abandoned by his family ten years later at the gates of a remote temple, resolves to make his own luck amongst the cheats and chancers of the world. When twenty years reckoning with the streets of Colombo, the docks of Sydney and the brothels of Singapore lead Sam back to his blighted birth village, he returns as a steely self-made man. He marries a nobleman's daughter and coldly pursues a life of wealth, prestige, and power.

And so begins a devastating chain of events, in which families are torn apart, fortunes are made and lost, and old ways and wants collide with modernity's new machines and money and desires. Just as Sam Kandy is called back to his roots and longs for a chance to prove himself to a people and a place that gave up on him long before, ambition, reinvention, tradition and family each demand an answer: what does it cost a man to rewrite his history?

Beggar's Feast is a masterpiece - a raw, profound and magnificent novel about origins and endings, about what we forsake to survive.

'Gleaming . . . An ambitious book that seeks to convey the sweep of history through the prism of one island' Sara Wheeler, New York Times

'A brilliant book. This novel reminds us of the values we are taught as children but which we might forget as we enter adulthood: love should be the ultimate reason behind each one of our actions; never think you can deceive anyone without any cost to yourself; nor does a lie become truth just because a hundred people are telling it'Nadeem Aslam, author of The Blind Man's Garden

Randy Boyagoda's first novel, Governor of the Northern Province, was nominated for the ScotiaBank Giller Prize in 2006. He has written for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, and Harper's Magazine. His second novel, Beggar's Feast, was nominated for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize and was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. He lives in Toronto with his wife and four daughters.

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