Moving between Toronto and war-torn Sri Lanka of the 1980s and 90s, The Hungry Ghosts tells an intense and absorbing story of one man’s restless search for redemption. Shivan Rassiah, gay and in his early thirties, prepares to return from Canada to his dying grandmother in Sri Lanka. Much is riding on this trip for Shivan, who hopes it will bring him the renewal he so desperately needs. Yet, as the night before he leaves unfolds, Shivan is haunted by the memories of his complicated relationship with his grandmother through his early years, the tragic outcome of a visit he paid her some years after migrating to Canada, and the Buddhist tales she told him with their themes of destiny and karma, which insist there is no escape from acts committed. Engulfed by his memories and mistakes, Shivan begins to doubt that the redemption he seeks might indeed be possible.
A lush, complex novel of migration, sexuality, family and exile, The Hungry Ghosts brings vividly to life the smell, colours, landscape, manners and customs of the author’s native Sri Lanka and his adopted homeland Canada.