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Swimming in the Monsoon Sea


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About the Author

Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. Funny Boy, his first novel, was published to immediate acclaim in 1994, was a national bestseller, and won the W. H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award. In the U.S., it was the winner of The Lambda Literary Award, and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Cinnamon Gardens, his second novel, was shortlisted for the Trillium Award. It has been published in the U.S., the U.K., India, and numerous countries in Europe. He is the editor of Story-wallah! A Celebration of South Asian Fiction. Shyam Selvadurai lives in Toronto.


Gr 9 Up-In Sri Lanka in 1980, 14-year-old Amrith is forced to confront his feelings about his birth family when Niresh, a cousin from Canada, visits. He falls in love with the boy, jealously refusing to share him with his adoptive sisters, in spite of their obvious interest. Amrith is a gentle, innocent boy from an anglicized and privileged world of private school, country club, and numerous servants, so readers will be surprised at the intensity evoked by his first sexual feelings. Mirroring the rage of Othello, the play his school is producing, he almost causes a tragedy before coming to terms with his anger at his family and his own sense of difference. The arc of this sensitive coming-of-age story moves slowly but inexorably to its breaking point, lingering over details of Sri Lankan life. Thunderous monsoon storms set the mood and detailed descriptions of the landscape, architecture, and food provide the backdrop. The author's affection for the country of his childhood is evident in this sympathetic and insightful look at first love.-Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"As lush and languid as its Sri Lanka setting...What captures readers is the way the story rolls in waves, mimicking how Amrith looks at himself, then looks away. The luxuriant language with details of architecture and verdant gardens doesn't call attention to itself, but refreshes like a breeze. Selvadurai, who wrote so gracefully for adults...now does the same for teens."
--Booklist, Starred Review

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