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Mosquito by Roma Tearne


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Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2007.

Costa Book Awards 2007 Judges' comment:
"A compelling story set in war torn Sri Lanka - poignant, exquisitely told and a captivating view of unusual love and survival."

If you like Roma Tearne you might also like to read books by Andrea Levy, Margaret Forster and Helen Dunmore.


Mosquito by Roma Tearne

When Theo returns to his native Sri Lanka after his wife's death, he hopes to escape his loss amidst the lush landscape of his increasingly war-torn country. But as he gives himself up to life in his beautiful, tortured land, he finds himself slipping into friendship with an artistic young girl, Nulani – a friendship that blossoms into love. Under the threat of civil war, as the quiet coastal town fills with whispers and suspicions, their affair offers a glimmer of hope to a country on the brink of destruction.

But all too soon, the violence that casts an ominous shadow over their love explodes. No-one, it seems, is safe; only the sea and the land remain breathtakingly lovely. As the country descends into a morass of violence and hatred, the tragedy of civil conflict spreads like a poison among friends and lovers sickened by the face of war. Ultimately, each of them will be tested in the most terrible ways…

Beautifully written, by turns heartbreaking and uplifting, Mosquito is a first novel of remarkable and compelling power.


‘“Mosquito” plays with sensuous mixes of human bestiality and natural beauty…It is in this continuing agency of remembered love – presented as the colours, sounds and smells of art, in dialogue with beauty and horror – that the uplifting politics of this fine novel lies.’ Independent

‘Heart-rending…Readers of this powerful novel cannot fail to be moved…but they will also realise that, as well as being a rebuke to indifference, the book is also about hope and survival.’ Christopher Ondaatje, Spectator

‘“Mosquito” lyrically captures a country drenched in both incomparable beauty and the stink of hatred.’ Guardian

‘Lovely, vividly described.’ The Times

About the Author

Roma Tearne

Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born novelist and film maker living in the UK. She left Sri Lanka with her family, at the start of the civil unrest during the 1960s. She trained as a painter & filmmaker at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and then was Leverhulme artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Subsequently she was awarded an AHRC Fellowship and worked for three years in museums around Europe on a project accessing narrative within the collections.

She has written six novels. Her fifth, The Road To Urbino was published by Little Brown in June 2012 to coincide with the premier of her film of that name at the National Gallery in London. She has been short-listed for the Costa, the Kirimaya & LA Times book prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011 and, in 2012, the Asian Man Booker. Her sixth novel, The Last Pier, will be out in April 2015 from Hesperus Press.

Author photo © Alistair Tearne

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Book Info

Publication date

5th March 2007


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Harpercollins Publishers




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