Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai + Author Interview [in Bloomsbury Review]
While ‘home’ today for Shyam Selvadurai is undoubtedly Toronto, Canada, the ‘home’ that he plumbs for his books remains Sri Lanka, where he was born and lived until the age of 19. Selvadurai’s latest, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea – his first for young adult readers – returns to the Sri Lanka of his youth, a time before the bloody riots between majority Buddhist Sinhalese and minority Hindu Tamils precipitated the immigration of Selvadurai’s mixed Sinhalese/Tamil family to Canada two decades ago.
While Selvadurai originally thought he might find a life in the theater, the resounding success in 1994 of his first book, Funny Boy, about a young boy’s growing up gay in Sri Lanka where homosexuality is still illegal, cemented Selvadurai’s writing career. He followed in 1998 with Cinnamon Gardens, exploring the intertwined lives of the residents in a Colombo suburb of 1920s Ceylon which was then not-yet-independent Sri Lanka. Earlier this year, he edited the much acclaimed anthology, Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers, capturing the diasporic South Asian experience through voices as diverse as Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Ondaatje and many others.
Debuting this fall, Selvadurai’s lush Swimming centers on 14-year-old Amrith, an orphan lovingly raised within the family of his mother’s schoolfriend, and what will mostly likely be the last summer of childhood when a new relationship with a mysterious cousin from Canada changes his life forever. …[click here for more]
Tidbit: Shyam Selvadurai was a guest at SALTAF 2005 (South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival), a much-anticipated, highly-attended annual fall event sponsored by the Smithsonian APA Program and NetSAP-DC.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult