Shani Mootoo, Author . Grove $23 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1798-4

The fictional island of Guanagaspar is again Mootoo's primary setting in his second novel, and, like Cereus Blooms at Night , the story is rich in the patois and daily rhythms of the Caribbean. Half-caste Harry St. George and his childhood love, Rose, the daughter of his mother's employer, are driven apart by the island's systemic patriarchy and racism, while also shaped by its simple beauty and languorous charms. Decades after their forced separation, Harry has made a good life for himself in British Columbia, but he can't forget his homeland or Rose. One of Mootoo's real accomplishments is his portrayal of the expatriate Harry. A quiet and unassuming man who takes pride in his seaside house and landscaping work, Harry socializes infrequently and dates with shy ineptitude. He is constrained by longing and memories of Rose, but remains stoic, accepting his condition even as it continues to torment him. Meanwhile, Rose still lives in Guanagaspar, married to the powerful attorney general of the island. She lives like a minor celebrity, but her life is not fulfilling. She begins to feel that Harry was the only one to ever look past her beauty and see her real self. Rose's daughter, now residing in Vancouver, provides a ready excuse for her to travel to Canada and reconnect with Harry. The trip itself, like much of the novel, is recounted in snippets and flashbacks, from many points of view, which gives the tale a fine-grained, beautifully textured finish. Agent, Maria Massie. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/04/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-8021-4260-3
Hardcover - 350 pages - 978-0-7710-6401-2
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-7710-6402-9
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-55584-702-9
Show other formats
Discover what to read next