The Hungry Ghosts In Buddhist myth the dead may be reborn as hungry ghosts spirits with stomach so large they can never be full if they have desired too much during their lives It is the duty of the living relatives t

  • Title: The Hungry Ghosts
  • Author: Shyam Selvadurai
  • ISBN: 9780385670661
  • Page: 427
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In Buddhist myth, the dead may be reborn as hungry ghosts spirits with stomach so large they can never be full if they have desired too much during their lives It is the duty of the living relatives to free those doomed to this fate by doing kind deeds and creating good karma In Shyam Selvadurai s sweeping new novel, his first in than a decade, he creates an unforIn Buddhist myth, the dead may be reborn as hungry ghosts spirits with stomach so large they can never be full if they have desired too much during their lives It is the duty of the living relatives to free those doomed to this fate by doing kind deeds and creating good karma In Shyam Selvadurai s sweeping new novel, his first in than a decade, he creates an unforgettable ghost, a powerful Sri Lankan matriarch whose wily ways, insatiable longing for land, houses, money and control, and tragic blindness to the human needs of those around her parallels the volatile political situation of her war torn country The novel centres around Shivan Rassiah, the beloved grandson, who is of mixed Tamil and Sinhalese lineage, and who also to his grandmother s dismay grows from beautiful boy to striking gay man As the novel opens in the present day, Shivan, now living in Canada, is preparing to travel back to Colombo, Sri Lanka, to rescue his elderly and ailing grandmother, to remove her from the home now fallen into disrepair that is her pride, and bring her to Toronto to live our her final days But throughout the night and into the early morning hours of his departure, Shivan grapples with his own insatiable hunger and is haunted by unrelenting ghosts of his own creation The Hungry Ghosts is a beautifully written, dazzling story of family, wealth and the long reach of the past It shows how racial, political and sexual differences can tear apart both a country and the human heart not just once, but many times, until the ghosts are fed and freed.

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      Published :2019-03-12T02:42:03+00:00

    One thought on “The Hungry Ghosts”

    1. Note: I was lucky enough to get this book early thanks to a First Reads giveaway! Thanks so much, and Random House.The Hungry Ghosts is a story about karma, the burden of it, and a family whose particular burden is that they always seem to destroy the things they love. The only way to break the cycle, the stories say, is to freely offer kindness to those who need it. Filled with Sri Lankan folklore and allegorical Buddhist stories, The Hungry Ghosts paints a vivid picture of life in Colombo and [...]

    2. a total downer. depressing tone and unsatisfying resolution at the end. this book is well written technically and the premise initially intriguing. but then the sense of fatalistic doom crept in and stayed till the very end.I know authors are supposed to erect obstacles for their characters and to keep placing these up. But in this book, the barriers and challenges provided nothing redeeming, consoling, or educational (or remotely satisfying). There was no resolution for the main character, Shiv [...]

    3. Reading The Hungry Ghosts is like exploring a lake in a handcrafted canoe. It might not be as easy or efficient as using say, a motor boat, but you can't help but enjoy the slow, steady and deliberate journey that you're being taken on. Selvaduri's craft is in the tiny, perfect grains of literature, planted there intentionally for you to admire and connect, from the distinct language the characters use, that make you feel as if you've met his characters, to the repeated use of stories and phrase [...]

    4. This is a story about a gay, upper-middle-class Sri Lankan teenager's immigration to Canada with his mother and sister to escape the island's ethnic violence and homophobia. More broadly, though, it's an exploration of the workings of karma, of how the sins of our past supposedly follow us through this and future lives unless we make amends. The book is well-written and offers suspense, mystery and romance, but the Buddhist parables woven into the narrative were problematic. The "Hungry Ghosts" [...]

    5. This is the kind of book that, upon entering the final chapter, the reader takes a deep breath, holds it, and only lets it out when the last word is read. There is so much to anticipate in the last moments of the story, that it is almost unbearable to breathe."The Hungry Ghosts" is a gem of a novel centered around an uncommon theme for English literature: making personal concessions to correct the transgressions of others. Selvadurai takes his readers on a tense journey of forgiveness and family [...]

    6. 'The Hungry Ghosts' was quite true to the description on the back cover, yet was still surprising in its own way. I thought it was quite well-written, and the story that weaves through the lives of all of the characters was quite interesting on its own. Yet the guts of the story really lie with the relationships between the characters, and the effects of major issues presented throughout the book on their lives. The historical-fiction backdrop that jumps back and forth between Canada and Sri Lan [...]

    7. This is a story about karma! How a single wound inflicted on a young girl can have ramifications through generations. The bitterness and anger, pain and hurt expressed and felt by everyone she touched through her long life. It provides a lesson in letting go, the only way to break the cycle otherwise we are all condemned to live as "Hungry Ghosts" at the banquet of life. It is happening now all around you, you just have to see. The futility and shame of it all is almost too much to bear. Feel it [...]

    8. This is an intricate, intensely compelling novel that handles history with deftness, weaving it into the essential fabric of Shivan's personal reckoning. The characters are so finely wrought, and the plot so engaging, that the author could have been forgiven if his prose was not up to snuff, but that too is like music, ushering descriptions forth to tear at the reader's mind and heart. Even simple descriptions are treated with loving care. "Mili disappeared into the shadows and then, as if emerg [...]

    9. I’ve been a fan of the author since his first book “Funny Boy” (still one of my all-time favourite reads). I sat on this book for years, and when I finally started it, I took my time reading this book and savoured each riveting chapter. Bonus points for its depictions of Toronto; always love seeing my hometown reflected (accurately) in literature. Loses one point for what I deem an incomplete story? The book just kind of ends; I guess we’re given allusions as to what happens after the bo [...]

    10. Shyam Selvadurai has the advantage of catching his readers between the double edged conflict of civil war and ethnic troubles to being gay in a country that still outlaws this lifestyle, his native Sri Lanka.Shivan, a gay man of mixed Sinhalese and Tamil blood, someone who could be a reflection of the author, grows up in a dysfunctional family ruled by his maternal Sinhalese grandmother. Grandma is a greedy, unscrupulous woman of immense wealth, extracted from the misery of others, including her [...]

    11. This is a strikingly beautiful novel, beautifully written. On the surface, this is the story of Shivan, a half-Tamil half-Sinhalese boy who grows up in Sri Lanka and eventually moves to Canada in an attempt to get away from the horrors that he suffered at home. But there are many levels to this book, from the recounted Buddhist myths to the stories of Shivan's mother and grandmother, all tied together into themes of predestination and fate. The characters in the novel are all complex and human, [...]

    12. Hungry Ghosts at it's onset feels like a rehash of Shyam's early work. You'll meet the Funny Boy in Cinnamon Gardens , Swimming in the monsoon sea. And then, the real story kicks in.Shyam Selvadurai writes about Love, be it Filial, romantic or otherwise, intertwining the Sri Lankan political landscape from 1983 to 1994 , and trials and tribulations of an immigrant's life. For a person who grew up during the mentioned years , the situations and characters in the story evokes nostalgia. One sudden [...]

    13. This started out ok but got progressively worse and worse. By the final third the characters and their actions had become completely illogical, unsympathetic and, overall, irritating. Michael's reaction to discovering Shivan's past makes no sense whatsoever, and Shivan's whining that he is trying to make things "good again" between himself and Michael is completely negated by the terrible way he treats Michael. The book seemed to completely lose its focus, lagging excessively, and went, strangel [...]

    14. I won this in a First Reads giveawayank you ! This is an incredibly compelling book; I found it difficult to put down. It is a complex, multi-layered, and skillfully-written story that is beautifully interwoven with fascinating and complicated characters. Shyam Selvadurai's writing is vividly clear, exposing readers to the beauty and violence of Shivan's experiences in Sri Lanka, the agony of his complicated relationships with family members, the struggle and disappointment of immigration and a [...]

    15. I feel as though any novel by Shyam Selvadurai is worth waiting for with some anticipation. This one certainly was. The character of the grandmother is brilliantly done, as is the narrative of Shivan's continuing attraction to /repulsion from her. A difficult book to have written, I think, given the challenges of narrating the Sri Lankan civil war (see: Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost). And the coming out narrative is fascinatingly caught up with Shivan's continuing relationship both to Sri Lanka and to [...]

    16. I have loved every one of Selvadurai's other novels but this one, sadly, didn't hold me in the same way. I simply didn't like the main character enough - with his petulance and selfishness - to care about him or the way things would turn out. I found it impossible to understand his decisions or to relate to the way he saw the world. The writing itself was as lovely as ever, though, and I will look forward to his next novel.

    17. It is a story about a boy, his older sister and widowed mother and powerful grandmother. Takes place in majority Sri Lanka as turmoil is happening during the 70s & 80s as a backdrop to the drama that unfolds through rough relationships/dynamics. Yet there is hope, love, but also loss and devastation. The character must come to terms with himself, his relationship, his past and his truth. Will his karma be realized in time?

    18. A very interesting story, and at times, scary in its own way. Sometimes it is very difficult to let go of the past and it poisons our future. I hope that Shivan will be able to come to grips with his past, his anger, and his sorrow through this ending, but I would also hope that he could also reconcile with Michael and move into a brighter future, but that would seem to be wishful thinking.

    19. Hurray for Shyam's beautifully written 3rd novel! This is a complex and enjoyable book layered with Sri Lankan history, Buddhist tales and the coming of age story of a gay man. Difficult to put down and highly recommended.

    20. (view spoiler)[I have to take the whole ending, but it brings so many things together (and gives me the reason to rate it higher than I would have several chapters earlier). DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW. This novel rambles, it tells, its story, it rants, it preaches, it explains, it feels, and it is brilliant in many ways. I didn't love it for the whole of it, but then many people and many events were not meant to be comfortable, to be understandable. It enlightened. And in its fina [...]

    21. “Like rain soaking a parched land…." Selvadurai has come again like a rain, falls on the parched land we are struggling and pretending to be living. In his fourth book ‘The Hungry Ghosts’, he carefully paints the bitterness of the land strained with the blood of humans belonged to all the minorities; ethnic, cast, religious, as well as sexual, on the fabric of the reader’s mind. In his own way of developing characters and incidents in such a realistic, balanced manner, Selvadurai prese [...]

    22. I was initially intrigued by this story as I had recently travelled to Sri Lanka. There is quite a bit of action centered around the unrest and strife during the civil war they had there. But the characters just didn't work for me. I was unable to care about the main character, Shivan, because he didn't seem genuine to me. And the grandmother was a complete mystery to me. I didn't understand what made her tick, and the author just didn't develop her character to the degree that I could understan [...]

    23. The author was kind enough to attend our library's book club mtg; what a charming, friendly, interesting conversationalist!

    24. Ugh. I guess I understand where the mixed reviews are coming from. Shyam Selvadurai is someone who blew me away with Cinnamon Gardens. I loved that book. And while there are a lot of the same themes present in this one as well, I had a really hard time finishing this. I don't know if it was the main character or the actual length of the novel, but it went on and on and on. There were moments where I remembered why I loved Selvadurai in the past, and I just wish I had been able to fall in love wi [...]

    25. Having read and enjoyed Selvadurai’s previous novels, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read a pre-release copy of his latest book. I was not disappointed.Shivan, the narrator, is a young man born in Sri Lanka to a Tamil father and a Sinhalese mother. After the death of his father, Shivan and his mother and sister move in with his maternal grandmother who quickly marks him as her heir. Unhappy with her demands and controlling ways and thinking that life for him as a gay man would be ea [...]

    26. "The Hungry Ghosts" by Shyam Selvadurai is an exquisitely rich story about Shivan Rassiah, a young boy born from poverty and the weight of a burdened past that originally stems from an abrasive grandmother that poisons her lineage to create a wilful and eventually rebellious daughter—and the fate of her belief in her own terrible karma.Amidst the turmoil of a divided Sri Lanka where the tensions between the Tamils and Sinhalese people are a vivid and violent backdrop to the tensions between Sh [...]

    27. A real whirlwind of a novel, the latest from Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai packs in a lot of emotion, while moving finely over the course of the life of an immigrant, caught between the land he grew up in and the world in which he lives.The novel starts in Sri Lanka and soon vividly portrays the 1983 conflict between the Tamils and the majority Sinhalese, leaving the narrator, Shivan, and his family desperate for escape. They immigrate to Canada, but soon find life is not all it could be ther [...]

    28. Haunting-I cannot think of any other word to best describe 'The Hungry Ghosts'. And no, not literally haunting! Funny how every ignorant soul who'd glance at the cover while I was reading this book would ask the same annoying question, 'Is it scary?'. Morosely and condescendingly I would reply in the negative. However, 'The Hungry Ghosts' was subtly frightening, as far as I am concerned; the errors of the past can never be redeemed, it always comes back to haunt and alter the course of life, tet [...]

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