The Hungry Ghosts
In Sri Lankan myth, a person who dies may be reborn a "hungry ghost" — a ghost with a large stomach that can never be filled through its tiny mouth — if he has desired too much during his life. It is the duty of the living to free the dead who are doomed to this fate by transferring karma from their own good deeds. In Shyam Selvadurai's masterful new novel, Shivan, a troubled young man of mixed Tamil and Sinhalese ancestry, is preparing to travel from Toronto, Canada, to the land of his childhood, Sri Lanka, to rescue his ailing grandmother and bring her back to die. But on the eve of his departure — as Shivan meditates on his turbulent past, recalls his gradual discovery of his homosexuality, and wrestles with his complicated relationship with the wily old woman — he discovers just how much his own heart's desires are entwined with the volatile political, racial, and sexual mix of Sri Lanka's past and present. In the end, Shivan must decide: will he rescue his grandmother, or join her?
- Shyam Selvadurai on childhood memory, Buddha and answering your own questions
- Shyam Selvadurai on writing diverse fiction that's true to life
The Hungry Ghosts is an unconventional exploration of the immigrant experience; a tale of family ties and the long reach of the past; and a heartwrenching look at how racial, political, and sexual differences can tear apart a country, a family, and a human being. (From Anchor Canada)