The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka ****


It is easy to see why The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida won the Booker Prize. It is a beautiful book about very difficult subjects (Sri Lankan civil wars and a lot of death… of course, the main character is a ghost who dies at the start of the book… so there’s a lot of death).

I think one could make a compelling argument that this book should be categorized as fantasy, given the main character is a ghost, encounters otherworldly creatures, and experiences the afterlife (it seems ghosts have 7 moons to decide if they want to pass on to whatever happens after death or if they want to haunt the earth). However, given how well it is written and the fact that it was up for fancy awards, it is “literary fiction.”

None of that is really relevant to whether or not I think this book is good… and I do! Shocking, I know, given it won the dang award and lots of other praise. But sometimes people like a thing because that thing is damn good.

And this book is the reason I do things like read the shortlist of award nominees. I would have never picked up this book on my own, but I’m very glad to have read it.

It is pretty brutal, so it may not be for everyone. It is also very funny, heartbreaking, and pretty touching at the end.

Leave a Reply