“A coming-of-age story that transcends labels and deserves to be called literature, pure and simple.”

The Washington Post

About the book

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea book coverThe setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life “before,” when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith’s holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school’s production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky’s tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith’s ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed.


Tundra Books, Canada and USA, 2007
Penguin, India, 2006
Forlaget Arvids, Denmark, 2007
Laguna, Serbia, 2007
Sarasavi Publishers, Sri Lanka, 2007


Winner, Lambda Literary Award
Canadian Library Association Book of the Year
Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award
Silver Winner, Young Adult Category of ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award


“As lush and languid as its Sri Lanka setting… What captures readers is the way the story rolls in waves, mimicking how Amrith looks at himself, then looks away. The luxuriant language with details of architecture and verdant gardens doesn’t call attention to itself, but refreshes like a breeze. Selvadurai, who wrote so gracefully for adults… now does the same for teens.”
— Booklist, starred review

“A very honest, simple, spontaneous telling… recommended reading.”
— First City

“Selvadurai is one of those gifted writers who uses apparently ordinary circumstances to illustrate the pressure of larger themes… a gentle reflective story about falling in love for the first time.”
— Tehelka

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