Beggar's Feast: Book summary and reviews of Beggar's Feast by Randy Boyagoda

Beggar's Feast

By Randy Boyagoda

Beggar's Feast
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2012,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

Sam Kandy, born to low prospects in a Ceylon village in 1899, dies a hundred years later as the wealthy headman of the same village - a self-made shipping magnate and the father of sixteen who’s been married three times and widowed twice.

Told in four parts, this enthralling novel traces Sam's story from his boyhood - when his parents, convinced by his horoscope that he'd be a blight upon the family, abandon him at the gates of a distant temple - through to his dramatic escape from the temple, his daring journey across Ceylon to Australia and Singapore, and his bold return to the Ceylon village he once called home. There, he tries to win recognition for his success in the world - at any cost.

A novel about family, pride, and ambition set on a gorgeous, troubled island caught between tradition and modernity, Beggar’s Feast establishes Boyagoda as a major voice in international literature.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Prepare for a verbal feast that will thoroughly entertain and satisfy, yet leave you hungering for more." - Kirkus

"The easy postcolonial comparison might be Rushdie or Ondaatje, but Sam Kandy, the inventive and ambitious scrabbler, also has a bit of Saul Bellow's Augie March, while his humble beginnings ("a no one from nowhere"), his invented name, his climb to money and manners and motorcars and English suits and silver cigarette cases remind me of that other signifying cipher upstart, Jay Gatsby." - The Globe and Mail

"Told in prose as circuitous as Sam’s life, this at-times affected novel reveals just how much can be laid to waste through one man’s need to get ahead." - Publishers Weekly

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Randy Boyagoda's first novel, Governor of the Northern Province, was critically acclaimed and long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

He regularly reviews for The New York Times, Harper's and The Globe and Mail and is writing a biography of Richard John Neuhaus, which will be published in 2014. He is Chairman of the English Department at Ryerson University.

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