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SHEHAN KARUNATILAKA - Booker Prize-winning Author of The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
Manage episode 375632037 series 3334555
"So this was the decision to write in the second person. A lot of people ask me: why? There are not many examples of this technique. The reason I opted for that is I was trying to figure out interviewing a ghost. And one of the challenges was: what does a disembodied voice sound like? The narrator's body has been chopped up and chucked in a lake.
So, I figured that if anything survives the death of your body, it's perhaps the voice in your head. The voice in my head is in the second person. I don't know about your head or anyone else's head, but in mine, it's the second person.
It's almost like someone else telling me: Yeah, you should have worn a better shirt for this interview. You should have read a better chapter. And it's almost like someone is talking to me. And I tried this technique, and I think Maali Almeida also questions. Who is the you that's telling the story? And this is addressed. We've all had experiences where we've done something or said something and we've thought: what was I thinking? Why did I do that? And what made me do that? And so Maali also ponders: Is the voice telling the story, is that me, or is it someone else? Is there a spirit? Because he observes that spirits, because they're so bored - because I have to also figure out what ghosts do all day? Because we know in horror movies, ghosts turn up and be scary. And I don't know if there are resolutions in the book, but there is the idea that maybe are your thoughts your own? Or is someone else whispering them to you?"
What happens when we die? What happens to our memories and consciousness when our bodies cease to be? In the end, is it the things we did and the people we loved that give our lives meaning?
Shehan Karunatilaka is the multi-award winning author. He is known for his novels dealing with the history, politics, and folklore of his home country of Sri Lanka. He won the Commonwealth Book Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for his debut novel, Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, and the Booker Prize 2022 for his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. In addition to novels, he has written rock songs, screenplays and travel stories. Born in Colombo, he studied in New Zealand and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam, and Singapore.