The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers


Author: Mike Masilamani
Illustrated by Matthew Frame

9789383145270 | HB | pp. 96 | 2015 | Tara Books

The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers is a darkly satiric account of childhood in the times of war. The story centres around a boy who is more at home with numbers.

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The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers is a darkly satiric account of childhood in times of war. Set in Sri Lanka, the events it narrates could equally happen elsewhere — in all places where human deaths are reduced to numbers and guns do not differentiate between adults and children. The author’s ironic narrative centres around an unnamed boy, who is at home with numbers rather than words. Along with a constantly chattering — and prophetic cow — he bears witness to a bizarre and violent time. The textured illustrations are a powerful testimony to the horror of prolonged civil strife.

Additional information


Mike Masilamani
Illustrator: Matthew Frame







Year of Publication:



Tara Books





Country of Origin:


About the Contributors

The author is a short-story writer and playwright, with his work being performed in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Chennai, India.

The illustrator focusses on how illustration can address the issues surrounding social cohesion in the globalised world. His emphasis on hand-drawn imagery and analogue production techniques inform his design outlook and underpin his distinctive approach to illustration. He completed his Masters in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins.


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