Inspired by Sri Lankan folklore, and recalling horror classics like Carrie and The Exorcist, award-winning author Amanda Jayatissa turns her feverish, Gothic-tinged talents to late 19th century Sri Lanka where the daughter of a traditional demon-priest—relentlessly bullied by peers and accused of witchcraft herself—tries to solve the mysterious attacks that have been terrorizing her coastal village.
Being the daughter of the village Capuwa, or demon-priest, Amara is used to keeping mostly to herself. Influenced by the new religious practices brought in by the British Colonizers, the villagers who once respected her father’s craft have turned on the family. Yet, they all still seem to call on him whenever supernatural disturbances arise.
Now someone—or something—is viciously seizing upon men in the jungle. But instead of enlisting Amara’s father’s help, the villages have accused him of carrying out the attacks himself.
As she tries to clear her father’s name, Amara finds herself haunted by dreams that eerily predict the dark forces on her island. And she can’t shake the feeling that it’s all connected to the night she was recovering from a strange illness, and woke up, scared and confused, to hear her mother’s frantic cries: No one can find out what happened.
Lush and otherworldly, Island Witch is a deliciously creepy and darkly feminist tale about the horrors of moral panic.