The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is the UK title of the book, and it is published as Chats With The Dead in India
New Delhi, July 2022: Award-winning writer Shehan Karunatilaka’s Chats With The Dead, which is titled The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida in the UK, is in the race to win this year’s Booker Prize for Fiction. The news of the longlist broke late evening with an announcement from the organisers of one of the leading literary awards in the English-speaking world. This is Shehan’s first nomination for the prestigious Booker Prize. Chats With The Dead is published in India under Penguin’s Hamish Hamilton imprint, home to some of the most distinguished titles in literary fiction.
A classic whodunit with a brilliant twist, this work of fiction is based on renegade war photographer Maali Almeida, who is tasked with solving his murder. Embroiled in red tape, memories of war, and his ethical dilemmas and constantly interrupted by the overly chatty dead folks breezing through the afterlife, Almedia struggles to unravel his death.
A compulsively readable dark comedy of life, death and everything in between, Chats with the Dead searingly exposes the plight of a country caught in the aftermath of civil war. Its deliciously compelling absurdity holds you in thrall right from the very first page up to its startling denouement, constantly upending its premise with its staggering humanity.
Manasi Subramaniam, Associate Publisher & Head of Literary Rights at Penguin Random House India and the editor of Chats With The Dead said, ‘The almost-hero, forever conflicted, is such a difficult character to manage – and yet Shehan Karunatilaka makes him not just likeable but also someone to root for. It’s a masterful work of modern philosophy that – through all its deft acrobatics through the living and the dead – insists on being uproariously funny. I am delighted that this brilliant book has been longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022.’
The longlist for the 2022 Booker Prize also includes 13 titles and their information can be found here. Booker Prize 2022’s jury is chaired by Neil MacGregor, cultural historian, writer and broadcaster along with a five-person panel- Critics Shahidha Bari and M. John Harrison, historian Helen Castor and novelist and poet Alain Mabanckou. The shortlist will be announced on 6 September and the winner on 17 October.
About the author
Shehan Karunatilaka is a Sri Lankan writer whose first book Chinaman won the Commonwealth Book Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and the Gratiaen Prize, and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize.