Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. Funny Boy (McClelland & Stewart, 2019), his first novel, was published to immediate acclaim in 1994. It was shortlisted for the prestigious Giller Prize, was a national bestseller, won the W. H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award, and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. In 2020, it was made into a feature film by director Deepa Mehta. His second novel, Cinnamon Gardens (McClelland & Stewart, 1999), was shortlisted for the Trillium Award. His third, The Hungry Ghosts (Anchor Canada, 2014), was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Selvadurai is also the author of an acclaimed novel for young adults, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea (Tundra Books, 2022), shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in Toronto.
Mansions of the Moon
Published by Knopf Canada
From the bestselling, award-winning author of Funny Boy and The Hungry Ghosts comes a breathtaking reimagining of ancient India through the extraordinary life of Yasodhara, the woman who married the Buddha.
In this sweeping tale, at once epic and intimate, Shyam Selvadurai introduces us to Siddhartha Gautama—who will later become “the enlightened one,” or the Buddha—an unusually bright and politically astute young man settling into his upper-caste life as a newlywed to Yasodhara, a woman of great intelligence and spirit. Mansions of the Moontraces the couple’s early love and life together, and then the anguished turmoil that descends upon them both as Siddhartha’s spiritual calling takes over and the marriage partnership slowly, inexorably crumbles. Eventually, Yasodhara is forced to ask what kind of life a woman can lead in ancient India if her husband abandons her—even a well-born woman such as herself. And is there a path she, too, might take towards enlightenment?
Award-winning writer Shyam Selvadurai examines these questions with empathy and insight, creating a vivid portrait of a fascinating time and place, the intricate web of power, family and relationships that surround a singular marriage, and the remarkable woman who until now has remained a little-understood shadow in the historical record. Mansions of the Moon is an immersive, lively and thrilling feat of literary imagination.