This classic novel of colonial Ceylon (Sri Lanka), was first published in 1913 and is written by a prominent member of the Bloomsbury group, husband of Virginia Woolf. It reads as if Thomas Hardy had been born among the heat, scent, sensuality and pungent mystery of the tropics. Translated into both Tamil and Sinhalese, it is one of the best-loved and best-known stories in Sri Lanka. It includes a new biographical afterword by Sir Christopher Ondaatje, author of "Woolf in Ceylon", and a short story, "Pearls before Swine", which vividly draws on Woolf's experience as a young District Commissioner. This book reeks of first-hand knowledge of the colonial experience, and of its profound, malign disregard for the psychology and culture of its subject peoples.
Leonard Woolf was born in London in 1880. Educated at St. Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1904 he joined the Civil Service in Ceylon returning to England in May 1911. With his wife, Virginia Woolf, he lived at the heart of the Bloomsbury Group, setting up the Hogarth Press with her in 1917. He wrote two novels, a number of works of non-fiction and a brilliant five-volume memoir. He died in 1969.