Noontide Toll | Granta

  • Published: 07/05/2015
  • ISBN: 9781783780174
  • 129x20mm
  • 256 pages

Noontide Toll

Romesh Gunesekera

Vasantha is a van driver for hire, ferrying aid workers, returning exiles, and tentative entrepreneurs across the battle-scarred landscapes of Sri Lanka. The civil war is finally over, but the traumas of the past are still haunting. Behind the facade of peace we are made to remember the war: mysterious hoteliers conceal scars under their collars; genial old soldiers are secretly identified as perpetrators of brutal crimes; young Sinhalese men pine after Tamil girls whose brothers died by their hands. Vasantha keeps his own counsel, lingering on the periphery of his passengers’ stories, but as time goes on he reveals a little of his own story too.

Perceptive, sombre and finely-tuned, Noontide Toll paints an extraordinary portrait of a post-war Sri Lanka grappling with the ghosts of its troubled past.

Gracefully crafted... Gunesekera, a storyteller at the height of his powers, achieves an elegant balancing act, which is a pleasure to read

Shehan Karunatilaka, Guardian

Gunesekera conjure[s] strange and wonderful images with a wonderful deftness... Impressive and quietly devastating

Randy Boyagoda, Financial Times

Arresting... An acute, sensuous cycle of interwoven short stories

Keith Miller, Sunday Telegraph ****

The Author

Romesh Gunesekera grew up in Sri Lanka and now lives in London. His debut novel Reef was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1994 and won the Yorkshire Post First Work Prize. In 1997 he was awarded the prestigious Premio Mondello award in Italy. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004. He is the author of numerous novels and short story collections, including Monkfish Moon, Reef, The Sandglass and Noontide Toll, all of which are published by Granta Books.

More about the author →

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‘Identity, it seemed, was not so self-determined after all.’

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‘It is to Shakespeare’s pages I return whenever I feel I am sinking. There I can be sure to find a lifeline.’

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‘You have to go on the offensive until you smell victory. Then you have the aphrodisiac and can go full tilt.’