Beggar’s Feast

Publisher: Penguin Canada
Beggar's Feast is a novel about a man who lives in defiance of fate. Sam Kandy was born in 1889 to low prospects in a Ceylon village and died one hundred years later as the wealthy headman of the same village, a self-made shipping magnate, and father of sixteen, three times married and twice widowed. In four parts, this enthralling novel tells Sam's story from his boyhood—when his parents, convinced by his horoscope that he would be a blight upon the family, abandon him at the gates of a distant temple—through his dramatic escape from the temple and journey across Ceylon to Australia and Singapore, before his bold return to the Ceylon village he once called home. There he tries to win recognition for his success in the world—at any cost.


“a multifaceted, engrossing story… Prepare for a verbal feast that will thoroughly entertain and satisfy, yet leave you hungering for more.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“. . . a parable for modernized, globalized, restless identity.”
New York Journal of Books

"Boyagoda does a superb job of telling this century-long tale... It’s entertaining, with much insight into the life and times of that era in the East. Recommended."
Historical Novels Review

“Rags-to-riches narratives seldom have much humbler starting points than the Ceylon village where Beggar’s Feast’s protagonist is born … 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

“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

 “[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.”
National Post