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Friendship and rivalry in 1960s Sri Lanka

A dreamy, mesmerising story on the displeasures of growing up

By Rebecca Liu   Winter Special
A mansion in Colombo, modern Sri Lanka Photo

A mansion in Colombo, modern Sri Lanka Photo Photo by Anuradha Dullewe Wijeyeratne/Wikipedia Commons

Kairo, a young boy living in Colombo on the cusp of adolescence, first meets the charismatic Jay at a church car park. “I needed a guide, a hero, illumination,” he remembers in Romesh Gunesekera’s new novel. “Jay, I now know, needed an acolyte.” Jay, impressing Kairo with his sophisticated vocabulary and the Bowie knife attached to his belt, invites Kairo to a bike…

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