Saintly Traces: A Word in Your Ear

You can now listen to a five-minute excerpt of the audiobook for The Saint of Bright Doors (you can also preorder the audiobook!)

This is Sid Sagar at the recording; he also recently did the audiobook for Rushdie’s Victory City.

I’ve been reading some early reviews and commentary on Saint, both positive and negative. Publishers’ Weekly found the book rather too slow and thinky-thinky for their taste, so I was ready to perform the traditional defensive manoeuvre where you excerpt a negative review to make it sound good. You know, if someone were to write “this book is abyssal, just overwhelmingly asinine and shitty,” you chip away at this rude block of stone to reveal the perfect statue within, i.e., “… by … J … ove [,] … a … hit,” and put that on the “Praise” page. In this case, though, I didn’t have to, because they did close the review with this fantastic line that I cannot in fact object to:

A meandering meditation on mind-body duality, fanaticism, and eschatology that will appeal only to fans of the most cerebral fantasies.

Publishers’ Weekly, in decidedly not a starred review

I mean … yes, that is exactly what I set out to do in life, and I’m glad it’s working. Calling all fans of the most cerebral fantasies: hey. I got you something.

Some other and much more upbeat recent comments: Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ was interviewed at The Republic about her award-winning debut novel Dazzling (now preorderable in the US for December, already out in the UK!) and had some very kind words about Saint:

I’ve recently finished a proof copy of The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera, a writer from Sri Lanka. I have never read anything like that before! It tells the story of Fetter, a shadowless, floating (literally!) young boy who has been raised by his mother to slay his father, the all-powerful, time-bending head of a religion. Except Fetter grows up and abandons his mother and destiny on the village in which he was raised and tries to hide out in a big city, where it turns out that people with destinies are a dime a dozen. It is beautiful, violent, intelligent and surreal! 

Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ

I also came across this very positive review from Paige Smith, which I found delightful:

If you read One Hundred Years of Solitude and found it easy to keep track of the timeline, you will have absolutely no trouble keeping track of the intricacies of The Saint of Bright Doors […] If you enjoy an epic, world building, myths, and strangeness, this is the book for you. If you can read critically and analyze what you’re consuming, dive the heck in! You don’t want to miss this one.

Paige Smith

Bookstores visited recently: The Strand, Codex Books, East Village Books, the Book Cellar (again). There was also a book-themed bar (presumably the books were decor, not for sale, but still) where I did not attempt to browse the shelves purely because this would have necessitated climbing over other punters’ heads, but there was a small HP Lovecraft mural (bust with tentacles) next to one, so one likes to imagine it was a genre fiction shelf.

Goodreads-watching: getting added to the Big Books of Summer list has definitely exposed the book to a lot more people. We are currently at over 10,500 people who’ve marked it as “want to read” on Goodreads—you can too! And of course, you can (and totally should) preorder the book. That page links to a bunch of different sellers for the hardcover, ebook, and audiobook, and in general at this point, you should be able to preorder it anywhere books are sold. Quite a few people have asked, so I’m trying to figure out exactly how distribution/preordering works with bookstores in Sri Lanka, and will update once I know.

Speaking of having new work out in July, it looks like I will also have a short story out that month, which will be my first original story of 2023: “Theses on the Scientific Management of Goetic Labour” in Uncanny. I just sent in my photo and bio the other day, and that officially marks the point where my bio shifts from talking about a book that is Forthcoming to a book that is, incredibly, Out Now.