The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

Highbridge Audio. Feb. 2023. 14:15 hrs. ISBN 9781696611251. $24.99. F
When Sri Lankan photographer Maali Almeida wakes up dead amid the country’s bloody civil war, he is not surprised. A disillusioned photojournalist, gambler, and closeted gay man in repressive 1980s Colombo, his murder at the hands of unknown persons is less a shocking mystery than a personal hassle after his life full of lies, trauma, and violence. Now, faced with an afterlife as full of confusion, politics, and bureaucracy as the one he just exited, Maali has only seven moons to help his living loved ones fulfill his final purpose. Before he does that, however, he must reconnect with what his life’s purpose might have been in the first place. Karunatilaka (Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew) brilliantly uses Maali’s humor and horror to draw readers into Sri Lankan political history and mythology, all while straddling the line between detective fiction and war satire. Shivantha Wijesinha’s narration is equally strong, adding easy flourish and ironic vitality to the wide-ranging cast of characters who drive its plot.
VERDICT A gleefully grim and entertaining journey of life and death during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Highly recommended for fans of South Asian literature and historical fiction. Winner of the 2022 Booker Prize.
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