Shehan is an old friend of mine who’s really done good. His book Chinaman, The Legend Of Pradeep Mathew has been blowing up. In Sri Lanka yes, but it’s now gone through an Indian edition and is now being released in the US. They’re changing the name there, it’s just the Legend Of Pradeep Mathew. You can read my review of he first edition here, it’s really quite excellent, and editing has made it better. Embedded above is a Skype interview with Shehan from today’s Good Morning Sri Lanka.
As a note, the Skype video gets stuck and you end up staring down Shehan’s craw for, like, minutes on end. And there’s weird Zelda music in the background, but he’s saying interesting stuff.
What I dig about Chinaman is it got over the melancholy, maudlin tone of a lot of Sri Lankan literature (all about the war and araliya flowers) and showed the innate humor and joy of the island, out of which you also get the bittersweet. In his story the war is most definitely there, but it’s not the life of the characters, as it has never been the whole life of this island.
He’s gotten awards, most recently the Commonwealth Prize and DSC Prize in India. The real proof is in the pudding though. It’s a good book. Pick it up.