Noontide Toll

A superb work of fiction set in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war, from the Booker Prize–nominated “master storyteller” (The New York Times)

“[Romesh Gunesekera’s] Monkfish Moon strikes the reader like a hammer blow. . . . Gunesekera’s subtly erotic prose animates Sri Lanka’s natural luxuriance, veined with menace.”
Voice Literary Supplement

The 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 savings, and now works as a driver for hire. As he drives through Sri Lanka, carrying aid workers, businessmen, and families and meeting lonely soldiers and eager hoteliers, he engages them with self-deprecating wit and folksy wisdom—and reveals for us their uncertain lives.

On his journey from the army camps in northern Jaffna to the moonlit ramparts of Galle, in the south, Vasantha begins to discover the depth of the problems of the past—his own and his country’s—and the promise the future might hold.

From the writer praised by The Guardian for the “vivid originality” of his vision, here is a wonderful collection—perceptive, somber, finely tuned—that draws a potent portrait of postwar Sri Lanka and the ghosts of civil war.



“These stories have all the beauty and poignance of graveyard flowers. Out of the blasted landscape of war, the explosion of language. This is Romesh Gunesekera at his lyrical best. Vasantha is a great listener and observer of life’s ironies; his excursions into civil warland take him into a living history mined with guilt, hope, brutality, and love.”
—Amitava Kumar, author of Husband of a Fanatic
“The book is an elegant balancing act and a pleasure to read. [Gunesekera’s] snapshots capture the island’s terrors and its treasures, and give you an insider’s view of the many outsiders drawn to this troubled nation.”
The Guardian
“[Noontide Toll] will draw a new generation of readers to this most sympathetic of writers, graced with a poet’s vision as well as an abiding sense of justice.”
The Irish Times
“In a postwar Sri Lanka convulsed by its wounds and scars, Vasantha, the protagonist in this remarkable collection of linked stories, provides the perfect compassionate guide.”
—Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy
“It’s one of the trickiest acts to pull off, the turning of political comment or observation into a believable, character-driven novel, but Gunesekera manages it beautifully.”
Sunday Herald
“Not a word is wasted or a detail extraneous in the clenched, explosive vignettes Mr. Gunesekera strings together.”
—Pico Iyer, The Wall Street Journal

News and Reviews

NY Times

NY Times reviews Noontide Toll

Kirkus Reviews

Noontide Toll is “ A moving chronicle of hope triumphing over despair from the author of The Match.”

Books by Romesh Gunesekera

The Match
A Novel

Romesh Gunesekera

The Sandglass

Romesh Gunesekera

A Novel

Romesh Gunesekera

Monkfish Moon
Short Stories

Romesh Gunesekera

Goodreads Reviews