“Funny Boy is debut novel by a Srilankan author Shyam Selvadurai. The author has beautifully told stories about life of a Tamil Srilankan boy, Arjie (shortform for Arjun) who is growing amidst Tamil-Sinhalese conflict in early 80s. Arjie is a sensitive and curious boy. His hobbies and passions are not like other boys. he prefers to play with girls, rather than playing cricket with boys. He knows he is different. He is becoming aware about his sexuality and his homosexual tendencies. But admitting to his sexual orientation in a very orthodox Tamil household is not easy. In young age, he observes love blossoming between his aunt and her Sinhalese friend, which is completely forbidden in his household. He tries to figure out the intricacies of human relations when his mother's ex-boyfriend suddenly lands at his doorstep. Selvadurai has beautifully and simplistically depicted the turmoil in Arjie's mind. And finally the vivid description of riots in Colombo where Tamils were targetted, is chilling. A hallmark of a good author is to be observant and then create the observations in front of the readers by using right words. Selvadurai is a promising writer. Funny boy is a wonderful read.
There is a very good crop of Asian writers such as Mohammed Hanif, Mohsin Hameed, Arvind Adiga and many many Indian writers. This is the first time I have read a book by a Srilankan. A book by a Bangladeshi author is next in line. Watch the space.”