peteg's blog - noise - books - 2022 11 12 ShehanKarunatilaka TheSevenMoonsOfMaaliAlmeida

Shehan Karunatilaka: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. (2020/2022)

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Kindle. The Booker Prize winner for 2022. More historical magic realism from the subcontinent, like that other famous Booker winner. Throughout it struck me as very derivative. Written in the second person (like How to get filthy rich in rising Asia). We're taken by a hedonistic gay photographer into Colombo and more obliquely Sri Lanka's civil war in the 1980s (Tamils v Sinhalese v other minorities) with about twice as many words as are functional. The plot is notionally motored by who-killed-Roger-Rabbit (sorry, you) but circles this and other points often, and without significant progress. None of the characters are particularly engaging. The rules for the spirit universe are arbitrary and unenforced; just noise. There is lots of local colour but mostly it collects set pieces (like poker games) sourced from things like James Bond movies and the internet of the past decade. The life philosophy is bogus, and the author has no grasp of probability or risk. He is obviously angling for a movie version.

Reviews are legion and mostly fawning. Goodreads.