This first in a planned trilogy introduces readers to Prin, a 40-year-old Catholic who, the narrator reveals immediately, will become a suicide bomber. A cancer scare followed by the threatened shutdown of the college where he works in downtown Toronto sparks a religious feeling in Prin, who then travels to the Middle East hoping to save both his college and his soul.
With his third novel, Original Prin, Randy Boyagoda confirms his position as one of the best satirical writers today. More immediately funny than either Governor of the Northern Province or Beggar’s Feast, but just as deeply cutting, Original Prin ... has an eye for the absurdities of modern university life ... One question the novel asks is to what degree is Prin responsible for the situation in which he finds himself at the close and to what degree is he merely a hapless victim of a world that has gone off the rails? ... Readers may be disappointed with the cliff-hanger ending, but take heart. The good news is that this is but the first installment of a planned trilogy. May the second Prin come quickly.
Original Prin Randy Boyagoda’s third novel, is an original animal, a comedy of literary and cultural references, with wordplay involving unfunny matters like cancer, a crisis of faith and Islamic terrorism, as well as easier comedic subjects like juice-box fatherhood and academic power plays ... Boyagoda finds dark absurdities in all corners ... There are references throughout to those who were likely Boyagoda’s influences ... Most of this is clever, often ingenious, but the frequency of one-liners works against the novel’s trajectory. The comedic exit ramps feel like authorial escapes, as if we can’t go more than a page or two before the next absurdity, and so we’re less involved in Prin’s journey, and more aware of Boyagoda’s restless intellect ... Prin evolves in surprising ways, and tensions spike. For readers feeling confounded at the end, fear not. It’s the first in a planned trilogy.
Boyagoda sets up a tightly paced novel in Original Prin that succeeds on a number of fronts. It’s a hilarious romp of a campus novel, poking fun at the market-driven ethos of the modern Canadian academy. It’s a touching look at the complicated sacrifices demanded of familial love. At heart, it’s a richly humorous novel that explores the struggle for spiritual believers in a fiercely secular world ... The first in a projected trilogy, Boyagoda ends the book on a cliffhanger that feels a tad too abrupt, a little too much like an adrenalin-filled Netflix season finale. With an instantly likeable protagonist...and a first-rate cast of supporting characters...in this first instalment, Boyagoda has crafted a novel that’s fresh and utterly original.