Book review: Upon a Sleepless Isle

A message from the author

In the space of a few years, Sri Lanka went from a country afflicted by a terrorist war to one of the trendiest holiday destinations in the world.

Andrew Fidel Fernando chronicles Sri Lanka’s journey in Upon a Sleepless Isle which surely ranks as the finest travel books ever written about the country.

Fernando, who is also Sri Lanka’s finest cricket writer for ESPNcricinfo, has a playful wit and is a perfect judge of an entertaining anecdote. As well as being a shrewd judge, he also has something of an accident-probe nature.

But he also has a feisty recognition of what’s right and what’s wrong. Colonialism, third-rate politicians, corruption and the travel industry all get a bit of a mauling. And the civil war is considered in an even-handed manner. If Fernando has a bias, it is to humanity itself.

Instead, he delights in uncovering the real heart of Sri Lanka as he dons his back pack to traverse Sri Lanka’s coats, hills, jungles and ruins.

Whether you are a native Sri Lankan seeking a new perspective on the country, or a potential holidaymaker seeking a different take from the information you can glean from a travel site, Upon a Sleepless Isle is highly recommended.