9 Brilliant Books That Show the Beauty and Cultural Heritage of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal. It has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka the Pali Canon date back to the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BC.

The island is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities and thanks to its climate, culture and beauty has attracted visitors from around the world since the ancient silk road. Britains called Sri Lanka, Ceylon, but the Arabs called it Serendib, which is where we get serendipity from, which should tell you everything you need to know about the beauty that is Sri Lanka.

Today, Sri Lanka is marred in violence as extremists try to bring hate to the island, and that’s why we’re concentrating on Sri Lanka’s beauty and cultural heritage with 12 books that are set on the island.

Anil’s Ghost is a story about love, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past–a story propelled by a riveting mystery. Unfolding against the deeply evocative background of Sri Lanka’s landscape and ancient civilization.

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One Thousand Stars and You follows the story of Alice as she flies off to Sri Lanka for one last hurrah before settling down. There she meets Max who is about to change her life, forever. Pack your passport because you’re about to go on a beautiful, literary journey!

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Cinnamon Gardens is set among the upper classes in the gracious, repressive and complex world of 1920s Ceylon (Sri Lanka), this evocative novel tells the story of two people who must determine if it is possible to pursue personal happiness without compromising the happiness of others.

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The Road From Elephant Pass won the 2003 Gratiaen Prize for creative writing in English and follows the story of an Army captain who has to escort a Liberation Tigers of Tamil eelam (LTTE) female terrorist across hostile territory in Sri Lanka dangerous to both.Author Nihal de Silva was tragically killed in a LTTE landmine explosion in the area which he described in the book.

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Reef is a stunning coming of age novel featuring Triton as he grows up in an increasingly hostile Sri Lanka. Triton loves living in Mister Salgado’s house. It was the biggest house he had ever seen–filled with floors to sweep and silver to polish and meals to cook and adults to impress and a brilliant master whose voice was poetry, but outside the world was falling apart.

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Not Quite Paradise is a chronicle of life on this paradise island when Adele Barker and her son set off on an 18-month sojourn. They had a magical time but upon returning to Tucson, on 26th December 2004 news reaches her that a tsunami has hit the island. This nonfiction account is part memoir, part travelogue and gives a beautiful view of this beautiful island.

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Another nonfiction memoir, Monsoons and Potholes is a mad, bad, and irreverent account of what it’s like growing up in Sri Lanka; the trials and tribulations of the heroine in tandem with the country’s slippery progress on the road to nowhere. Told from the perspective of a young girl, Monsoons and Potholes chronicles the country’s descent from beauty to civil war.

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The Moon in the Water is set within the Muslim community of Sri Lanka with insights into its customs and traditions. This is the story of an educated Muslim girl whose happy and secure world is shaken when she discovers Islam does not recognise the legality of adoption upon the death of her father. A story of love, and family bonds.

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Funny Boy is an evocative coming-of-age novel about growing up gay in Sri Lanka during the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict—one of the country’s most turbulent and deadly periods. Arjie is ‘funny’, the second son of a privileged family in Sri Lanka, he prefers staging make-believe wedding pageants with his female cousins to battling balls with the other boys. When his parents discover his innocent pastime, Arjie is forced to abandon his idyllic childhood games and adopt the rigid rules of an adult world.

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