Noontide Toll - Romesh Gunesekera (Paperback) 07-05-2015 Short-listed for The Gordon Burn Prize 2015 (UK). Long-listed for DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 (UK).
Vasantha is a van driver for hire, ferrying aid workers, returning exiles, and tentative entrepreneurs across the battle-scarred landscapes of Sri Lanka. The civil war is finally over, but the traumas of the past are still haunting. Behind the facade of peace we are made to remember the war: mysterious hoteliers conceal scars under their collars; genial old soldiers are secretly identified as perpetrators of brutal crimes; young Sinhalese men pine after Tamil girls whose brothers died by their hands. Vasantha keeps his own counsel, lingering on the periphery of his passengers' stories, but as time goes on he reveals a little of his own story too. Perceptive, sombre and finely-tuned, Noontide Toll paints an extraordinary portrait of a post-war Sri Lanka grappling with the ghosts of its troubled past.