Five years after winning national acclaim with his Giller Prize longlisted debut novel, Randy Boyagoda returns with the epic story of a man who lives in defiance of his fate.
Told in four parts, this enthralling novel traces the story of Sam Kandy, who is born to low prospects in a Ceylon village in 1899 and dies a hundred years later as the wealthy headman of the same village—a self-made shipping magnate and the father of 16 who’s been married three times and widowed twice.
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.
“A post-colonial Gatsby.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Sam’s Kandy’s century burns very brightly indeed.”
—the Toronto Star
“Boyagoda’s narrative voice–an excited storyteller’s voice, the voice of an oral, not a print culture ... It’s as lush as the tropical landscape of Ceylon”
—the National Post
"Swashbuckling and rollicking!"
—Shelagh Rogers, CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter
“Boyagoda … has a flair for concision … Rags-to-riches narratives seldom have much humbler starting points than the Ceylon village where Beggar’s Feast’s protagonist is born … Against all better judgment, the reader warms to him and his single-minded drive to transcend his origins. He’s Naipaul’s Mr. Biswas as unapologetic success rather than embittered failure, Richler’s Duddy Kravitz followed far past his apprenticeship. If you’ve found a place in your heart for either of those complicated figures, make way for Sam Kandy.”
—The Gazette (Montreal)
“A post-colonial Gatsby ... A rags-to-riches picaresque about the clash of worlds and the revenge of empires, about fate and history and harbours and birthright and brothels and moneylenders and metal-benders … Boyagoda, a sharp and subtle writer, slips easily into many different characters’ heads and their internal rhythms, and lyrical lines abound ... A satirical feast.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Sam’s life—Boyagoda keeps us fascinated if not always sympathetic—powers the narrative, ... Magical language, rhythmic storytelling and telling gestures ... Sam Kandy’s century burns very brightly indeed.”
“[Boyagoda’s narrative voice] is as lush as the tropical landscape of Ceylon ... The language is also charged with vitality and allows for the emergence, from time to time, of stark human truths.”
“One heck of a story arc ... Rollicking!”
—Shelagh Rogers, CBC’s “The Next Chapter”
Writer, critic and scholar Randy Boyagoda is a professor of American studies at Ryerson University. His debut novel, Governor of the Northern Province, was longlisted for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three daughters.