Noontide Toll

A driver’s job is to stay in control behind the wheel and that is all. The past is what you leave as you go. There is nothing more to it.
— Vasantha in Noontide Toll

‘A superb collection of interlinked stories – perceptive, sombre, finely-tuned - Noontide Toll draws an extraordinary portrait of post-war Sri Lanka grappling with the ghosts of its troubled past.’


Vasantha retired early, bought himself a van with his savings and now works as a driver for hire in Sri Lanka. As he ferries new entrepreneurs, charity workers and itinerant families around the country, he reveals with self-deprecating wit and folksy wisdom their uncertain lives after the end of a decades-long war.

On his journey from the army camps of the north to the moonlit beaches of the south coast, he begins to wonder if the past can be left behind - especially his own, and his country’s - and what the future might hold for a lovelorn soldier out on the ramparts, a fast-moving hotelier in a bombed-out town, an eager Jaffna student of Italian, or a desperate librarian of empty shelves?

Read an extract in the New Yorker  


Listen to an extract from BBC Radio (UK only)


Watch a video introduction to Noontide Toll 


‘Beautiful and sad, rising and falling like a love song... Nuanced [and] beguiling’ V Shoba, Indian Express

 ‘Poignant and illuminating... ’ Irish Times

 ‘Outstanding  stories, ... documented with humane appeal and masterly finesse’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

 ‘Gracefully crafted ... simple stories told in delicate prose ... The book is an elegant balancing act and a pleasure to read’ Shehan Karunatilaka, Guardian

 ‘One of the most delicate contemporary handlers of English prose.’ Spectator

‘A detached and meticulous documentation of civil strife ... Noontide Toll is a remarkable piece of writing’ Jaya Bjattacharji Rose, Hindu

‘A moving chronicle of hope triumphing over despair’ Kirkus Review 


To buy

Order from your local bookshop or any on-line store.

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If you buy from Amazon UK, please go to bookstore for a choice of formats.

In the US try Barnes & Noble or go to  Buy on Amazon 


Read the Granta Catalogue