Sunday, October 3, 2010

Unfulfilled promise

Set in Trinidad, Valmiki's Daughter runs out of fizz halfway through…

Valmiki's Daughter,
Shani Mootoo,
House of Anansi Press, p.398
With its chatty tour-guide-style beginning, Valmiki's Daughter promises you a delightful glimpse of Trinidad and its people. But just as you are putting your feet up in anticipation of a pleasurable read, the novel runs out of fizz. This is the Canadian-Trinidadian writer Shani Mootoo's third novel.

The first two chapters work as they are meant to, despite or perhaps because of their leisurely pace. What is especially endearing about the opening chapter is the use of the second person, so reminiscent of Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler:

Imagine you are a tourist let down from the sky, blindfolded, in the middle of a weekday, onto one of those traffic islands. Your senses would be bombarded at once. You would descend into a cacophony of sound, and a cacophony, yes, of smell.

Full review here Hindu

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