The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

Paperback, 400 pages

English language

Published Oct. 31, 2022 by W. W. Norton & Company.

ISBN:
978-1-324-06482-4
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4 stars (11 reviews)

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida—war photographer, gambler, and closet queen—has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka.

Ten years after his prize-winning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Shehan Karunatilaka is back with a “thrilling satire” (Economist) and rip-roaring state-of-the-nation epic that offers equal parts mordant wit and disturbing, profound truths.

5 editions

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4 stars

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Review of 'Seven Moons of Maali Almeida' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

There’s so much wrong with this book. Every fundamental plot device is silly: the existence of a spirit after death; the idea that said spirit could see hear smell (violation of laws of physics); that said spirit could have desires and emotions (chemical/biological processes); and then the gimmicks on top of that, like the amnesia thing, how convenient; all of it makes for a book I would toss aside in the first few pages.

But I didn’t. And it wasn’t a stick-with-it thing: I enjoyed every page—okay, almost every page; some of the violence was sickening but I breathed through that—and despite the absurdity I fell deeper and deeper in love with the book. And the payoff is oh so worth it.

The book triggers so many of my hot buttons (in good ways) but I’ll focus on asymmetry because so many central themes revolve around it and because Karunatilaka …

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