Vintage International

The Flower Boy

A Novel

Publisher: Vintage
An accomplished debut, The Flower Boy is the tragically romantic story of people from two cultures, one ruling the other, and the human passions that defy and nearly overcome social taboos.

In the colonial society of 1930s Ceylon, the separation between servant and master is clearly drawn. Young Chandi, however, knows that the baby born to his mother’s mistress will be his friend. And, indeed, their friendship blossoms in the lush gardens of the tea plantation on which they live. Many, English and Ceylonese, are troubled by the friendship, but the English planter is charmed by the children’s bond, and ultimately by Chandi’s mother, Premawathi. But the world encroaches on their Eden. Beautifully observed, compellingly plotted, The Flower Boy is a compassionate novel of a lost world and those who struggled to hold on to it.


Chapter 1
It rained the day Lizzie was born. Not the gentle benediction god showers on newborn babies, but a screaming, sheeting downpour that turned the neatly mown lawns into squelching seas of mud.
The rain god was angry.
When they had built the projecting roof to protect the whitewashed walls of the...
Read More


“Picaresque…lovely…. Everyone in this novel, although they live close together in one house, has an astonishingly different notion of ‘home.’”–The Washington Post Book World

“A wonderfully calm book…. [I]t has a truly lyrical and musical quality.”–Penelope Fitzgerald