Published Jul 2014
A driver’s job is to stay in control behind the wheel and that is all. The past is what you leave as you go. There is nothing more to it.
Vasantha retired early, bought himself a van with his svings and now works as a driver for hire in Sri Lanka. As he ferries new entrepreneurs, charity workers and itinerant families around the country, he reveals with self-deprecating wit and folksy wisdom their uncertain lives after the end of a decades-long war.
On his journey from the army camps of the north to the moonlit beaches of the south, he begins to wonder if the past can be left behind – especially his own and his country’s – and what the future might hold for a lovelorn soldier out on the ramparts, a fast-moving hotelier in a bombed-out town, an eager Jaffna student of Italian, or a desperate librarian of empty shelves.
A superb collection of interlinked stories – perceptive, sombre, finely tuned – Noontide Toll draws an extraordinary portrait of post-war Sri Lanka grappling with the ghosts of its troubled past.
Praise for Romesh Gunesekera:
Gunesekera writes about Sri Lanka in all his fiction, but it’s easy to think of him as a novelist in the great English tradition…He is an author of great social delicacy, with a love of realistic description and a sly wit which can readily escape the casual reader.
Mail on Sunday
(An) often inspiringly lyrical writer who feels as deeply as he sees.
(A) talented, subtle writer…He writes movingly of human vulnerability and of the misfortunes and catastrophes that overwhelm individuals and nations.