Ceylon breeze

Ceylon breeze

Here is another extract from my debut novel, Waking hours. Spanning over fifty years, from 1950s Ceylon to twenty-first century England, it follows three generations of one family. The ebook edition is on special offer over Christmas!


The ceiling fan whirred noisily above Lily as she lay in bed. She had always been nervous of its wild gyrating, fearing it would spin loose any moment and slice her to pieces. In over thirty years it had neither been fixed nor fallen. She wasn’t sure if this should worry or reassure her.

She turned onto her side. The other beds were empty. Her mother’s neatly made, her daughter’s unkempt, but she knew soon to be tidied after breakfast. Its mosquito net flapped under the fan, and occasionally ballooned, inflated by the breeze coming in through the window….

She closed her eyes. She could hear birdsong and shuffling footsteps along the dirt road outside the house. She looked up at two geckos on the peach walls that seemed on course for a collision. Nothing seemed to have changed from her childhood, yet everything had.

From the road below she heard the fish man announce his wares, his cry of ‘Malu’ getting louder as he approached the house. Her stomach tightened. It was an evocative sound, which she had once associated with happier more innocent times. Teenage days that had been filled with possibility. She got up and walked over to the window where she watched him make a sale, before pushing his bike down the lane, a hopeful cat in his trail.

The previous day her mother had told her that in 1983, when mobs had come to the town looking for Tamil houses to ransack, the fish man had given them information for a couple of bottles of Arrack and a few rupees.

Lily wondered if anything was really as it seemed, or whether she was just blind to the obvious.

Photo by Marie-Flore Pirmez on Unsplash

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