Sam Kandy, born in 1899 in a poor village in the heart of Ceylon and
abandoned by his family ten years later at the gates of a remote temple,
resolves to make his own luck amongst the cheats and chancers of the world.
When twenty years reckoning with the streets of Colombo, the docks of
Sydney and the brothels of Singapore lead Sam back to his blighted birth
village, he returns as a steely self-made man. He marries a nobleman's
daughter and coldly pursues a life of wealth, prestige, and power. And so
begins a devastating chain of events, in which families are torn apart,
fortunes are made and lost, and old ways and wants collide with modernity's
new machines and money and desires. Just as Sam Kandy is called back to his
roots and longs for a chance to prove himself to a people and a place that
gave up on him long before, ambition, reinvention, tradition and family
each demand an answer: what does it cost a man to rewrite his history?
Beggar's Feast is a masterpiece - a raw, profound and magnificent novel
about origins and endings, about what we forsake to survive. 'An ambitious
book that seeks to convey the sweep of history through the prism of one
island. Boyagoda has an idiosyncratic gift for conjuring a sense of place -
light is 'the colour of hasty tea', a car's headlights are 'bug-lathered',
and in the village the air 'was fruit and incense and balm and oil and yes
under it all for certain was good dark dirt, the dirt from which all came
and to which all goes.'' Sara Wheeler, The New York Times 'This novel
reminds us of the values we are taught as children but which we might
forget as we enter adulthood: love should be the ultimate reason behind
each one of our actions; never think you can deceive anyone without any
cost to yourself; a lie does not become the truth just because a hundred
people are telling it.' Nadeem Aslam, author of Blind Man's Garden

Randy Boyagoda—Beggar's Feast