The Prisoner of Paradise

Every time a ship sails in, the lads go mad.
— from The Prisoner of Paradise

Mauritius 1825. The story of two young lovers in search of freedom, and the eloquence of the bonded heart.

‘In this blisteringly lucid novel, it’s as if Jane Austen, John Keats, Charles Dickens and even William Burroughs have clubbed together to render a masterful double-take on the nineteenth century’s own ideas of romance and empire, rendered in a colossally skilful, flexible hybrid of the best of English prose and prosody’ Todd McEwan  Herald Scotland

‘A terrific read: pacey, political, moral, atmospheric and, yes, definitely romantic’ Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Independent

‘Physical and psychological imprisonment are themes at the heart of this haunting, lyrical novel … this ambitious, captivating novel with its engrossing plot and striking style, has a bleak conclusion. But it succeeds in convincing that ‘the scratches of some poor scribe trying to climb out of a cell’ are not in vain’ Anita Sethi Times Literary Supplement

‘Gunesekera builds a world in a very direct, visual way that feels cinematic ... hugely atmospheric’ Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph

 ‘A delightful study in method writing, an affectionate, playful tribute to Lalla-Rookh, Jane Austen, the Brontës and the historical romance itself … we feel the smack of truth across the eras’ Susan Elderkin Financial Times

 ‘Gunesekera’s mellifluous prose alone is worth the price of admission. His description here of a first kiss has surely never been bettered.’  John Harding Daily Mail


Watch a video introduction to The Prisoner of Paradise below.


Read the first chapter:

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