Funny Boy: A Novel

Coming of age as the son of a middle-class Sri Lankan family, Arjie finds his childhood games giving way to a realization that he is gay, in a gentle and humorous story set against a backdrop of growing racial tension and civil unrest.

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By Sandhya (Pune, India) · ★★★★☆ · July 30, 2007
Personal, heart-felt and deeply emotional, Funny Boy is an outright masterpiece. The best thing about the novel is its simple, innocent and poignant of the most passionate and intense books I've ever read. ...more
By Dusty (Tuscaloosa, AL) · ★★☆☆☆ · April 10, 2008
The only thing this collection of stories (billed as a novel, but no way) adds to the coming-out genre is its setting: the Sri Lankan Civil War. This is probably enough. Probably, we should have variants of the coming-out novel in every possible culture of the world. But for someone who's about w... ...more
By ducky (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★★ · September 04, 2007
I love this book! It reminded me of little things from my childhood in Colombo…things I am slowing forgetting as I get older. Things like calling a wardrobe an almariah, like going to school in a uniform and coming home for lunch, like all the silly nicknames kids gifted - or maybe cursed - each... ...more
By Ben (Minneapolis, MN) · ★☆☆☆☆ · June 05, 2007
Absolutelty worthless. It's the gay, Indian, boring Portrait of the Artist. But if Joyce was gay, Indian, and boring, he wouldn't have wasted his time telling this story. He would have been too busy sleeping with Proust. ...more
By Calder (Toronto, ON, Canada) · ★★★☆☆ · July 15, 2010
I actually glanced at the beginning of this book and thought, "Oh, god, another coming out story, nicely written, but nothing very profound or very different and put it aside. Then I saw the reviews of the book on this website and became more interested in the political aspects of the novel that... ...more
By Daniela (Brampton, ON, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · June 05, 2012
Age Group:

Canadian Literature, Coming-of-Age, Realistic Fiction, History, Asian

Scotiabank Giller Prize Nominee (1994), Lambda Literary Foundation Award, in Canada First Novel Award (1994)

Arjie Chelvaratnam is a young Tamil boy growing up during a time of... ...more
By Ariel (Columbus, OH) · ★★★☆☆ · September 15, 2010
This was an interesting book. It was really cool to learn about Sri Lanka and the culture and lifestyles of the people. I also am always drawn to stories of gay young people in foreign countries who experience a different understanding of their sexuality.

I didn't like how most of the story was ab... ...more
By Megan (London, ON, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · June 10, 2014
I believe I read Selvadurai's second book first, and am now reading his first book second. Not that they need to be read in any order, but I'm wondering about his progression as an author. Also, is there a third? Because I liked Funny Boy more than Cinnamon Gardens. And looking it up, looks like... ...more
By Travis (Santa Monica, CA) · ★★★★★ · January 06, 2011
When adults say Arjie is "funny", he knows they don't mean it in any way he's familiar with the word. It's not until he's fourteen and falling in love with his best friend that he realizes what they meant and why he's always felt different. Set in Sri Lanka during the '70s and '80s, the book also... ...more
By Halik (Colombo, Sri Lanka) · ★★★★☆ · March 09, 2011
Touching stuff. I was quite young when i read this and it sort of provided me with my first real insight into the ethnic conflict leading up to the years of 1983. Also provoked a fair bit of anger against the government as well. Great activism and an even better novel. The story is woven around a... ...more