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'It's a simple car bomb, and it's rigged to a busload of schoolgirls. No one knows it is there except for me.' The Birth Lottery and Other Surprises is a collection of disquieting moments. Unpleasant truths await a Sri Lankan president in the back of a London cab. An advertising agency has to come to terms with a blown-up collection of pictures of its employees' penises. A man, presumed missing, quietly journals by the sea. A being dispassionately recalls the numerous births it had taken and absurd fates it had to endure. An Englishman, a Dutchman and a Portuguese man walk into a Ceylon bar, with grand narcotic designs. A masterful blend of dry wit, morbid charm and earnest observations, Booker-longlisted author Shehan Karunatilaka's The Birth Lottery and Other Surprises is a collection of stories that serves up fantasies for both doomsday and everyday.