“Funny Boy” by Shyam Selvadurai is the latest selection of the SALGA NYC Book Club. Please join us on Sunday, November 16th from 4-6pm as we discuss this selection over snacks & beverages. We encourage attendees to bring any of their favorite snacks or beverages as well.
To reserve your spot and for location information, directions, and alerts/updates please send an email to BOOKCLUB@SALGANYC.ORG to confirm that you wish to attend.
About the book:
“Set in the mannered, lush world of upper middle class Tamils in Sri Lanka, this deeply moving first novel, though not autobiographical, draws on Selvadurai’s experience of being gay in Sri Lanka and growing up during the escalating violence between the Buddhist Sinhala majority and Hindu Tamil minority in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Arjie Chelvaratnam, at the age of 7, prefers dressing up in a sari and playing bride-bride with his girl cousin to cricket. When he is discovered by the adults engaging in this innocent fun, he is forced out of the world of the girls. A lonely outsider, he attaches himself to various sympathetic adults, whose own trajectories and dilemmas reveal to Arjie the difficulties of following ones desires. As the novel progresses, the civil violence and tensions mount bringing devastating consequences to Arjie’s family and their sheltered world.
The journey from the luminous simplicity of childhood into the more intricately shaded world of adults – with its secrets, its injustices, and its capacity for violence – is a memorable one, as time and time again the true longings of the human heart are held against the way things are.”
“Shyam Selvadurai writes as sensitively about the emotional intensity of adolescence as he does about the wonder of childhood. He also paints an affectionate picture of an imperfect family in a lost paradise, struggling to stay together in troubled times.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Shyam Selvadurai has brought back from his Sri Lankan childhood a glittering and wise novel. Funny Boy keeps repeating with quiet conviction that the human condition can, in spite of everything, be joyful. You are not alone, it says to the reader, I understand you. I was there. I remember.” —Alberto Manguel
“He spins a subtle web that holds readers captive…” —Saskatoon Star Phoenix
“A powerful and beautifully written novel…” —Literary Review (UK)
“Lyrical, moving, and deeply perceptive. This isn’t the first coming-of-age story ever written, but I doubt there’s been one quite like it.” —Halifax Chronicle-Herald
“Family Life” by Akhil Sharma is the latest selection of the SALGA NYC Book Club.
Please join us on Sunday, October 5th from 4-6pm as we discuss this book over snacks & beverages. We encourage attendees to bring any of their favorite snacks or beverages as well.
For location information, directions, and alerts/updates please send an email to: BOOKCLUB@SALGANYC.ORG
About the book:
“We meet the Mishra family in Delhi in 1978, where eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother Birju play cricket in the streets, waiting for the day when their plane tickets will arrive and they and their mother can fly across the world and join their father in America. America to the Mishras is, indeed, everything they could have imagined and more: when automatic glass doors open before them, they feel that surely they must have been mistaken for somebody important. Pressing an elevator button and the elevator closing its doors and rising, they have a feeling of power at the fact that the elevator is obeying them. Life is extraordinary until tragedy strikes, leaving one brother severely brain-damaged and the other lost and virtually orphaned in a strange land. Ajay, the family’s younger son, prays to a God he envisions as Superman, longing to find his place amid the ruins of his family’s new life.
Heart-wrenching and darkly funny, Family Life is a universal story of a boy torn between duty and his own survival.”
• “Riveting… Sharma is compassionate but unflinching.”—Sonali Deraniyagala, The New York Times Book Review
• “Bracingly vivid… Has the ring of all devastatingly good writing: truth.”—Molly Langmuir, Elle
• “A loving portrait, both painful and honest.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
• “[F]ine and memorable.”—Meg Wolitzer, NPR
• “If you’re the betting type, put money on it: National Book Award, Pulitzer, and the Book Critic Circle-thingy. Akhil’s in the running for a hat trick.”—Amie Barrodale, Vice
• “A heartbreaking novel-from-life… [Sharma] takes after Hemingway, as each word of his brilliant novel feels deliberate, and each line is quietly moving.”—Maddie Crum, Huffington Post
• “Sharma spent 13 years writing this slim novel, and the effort shows in each lucid sentence and heartbreaking detail.”—Stephen Lee, Entertainment Weekly
• “Surface simplicity and detachment are the hallmarks of this novel, but hidden within its small, unembellished container are great torrents of pity and grief. Sedulously scaled and crafted, it transforms the chaos of trauma into a glowing work of art.”—The Wall Street Journal
• “Dark humor twines through Sharma’s unforgettable story of survival and its costs.”—Mary Pols, People
• “I lost all track of time while I was reading it, and felt by the end that I’d returned from a great and often harrowing journey… To my own surprise, I found myself renewed after reading it, and imbued with a feeling of hope.”—John Wray, Salon
• “With his subtly drawn point of view—recreating the child’s perceptions but with the controlling sensibility of an adult intelligence—Sharma gives us a fully imagined world, both hard and consoling.”—Jon Garelick, Boston Globe