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Leaving Toronto for Casaquemada, the Caribbean island of his birth, Dr. Raj Rassingh finds the formerly affluent community now plagued by random violence and widespread paranoia
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Neil Bissoondath was born in Trinidad, in 1955. He studied for his BA at York University, Toronto, and went on to receive a scholarship for the Advanced Writing Programme at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Since 1985 he has published seven award-winning books, the most recent of which is DOING THE HEART GOOD, published by Scribner in 2002.From Publishers Weekly:
Setting an ominous tone from the first page, Bissoondath ( Digging Up the Mountains ) develops this powerful novel with consummate skill. He creates a picture of a fictional Caribbean island on the verge of chaos, and of one man in exile from his heritage, caught between two alien worlds. Raj Ramsingh is a 35-year-old physician who took his medical training in Canada, then returned to Casaquemada; now he is leaving the island for good. In oblique, beautifully nuanced flashbacks, we come to understand the circumstances that have tinged his life with "the darkening rubble of shattered dreams." Using the Ramsingh family as a microcosm of the island culture, Bisoondath depicts a society as rigidly ruled by caste as the India of Raj's ancestors. Successful businessmen and professionals, the Ramsinghs disdain blacks, and other Indians who have not prospered. "We recognized a racial brotherhood, but we saw too in them a version of ourselves as we might have been, and this earned them our distrust and our contempt." Raj's ruthless cousin Surein typifies the disintegration of values in a family that prides itself in its high character and good breeding. On Casaquemada moral corruption is occurring at breakneck speed; the prosperity of the oil boom has succumbed to the politics of greed. The country is in shambles. For Raj, the free-floating violence will take a tragic toll. Bissoondath's bleak, despairing picture of this world is particularized by indelibly vivid characters and minutely observed detail. Writing in tightly controlled yet supple prose, conveying the true island patois, he constructs his narrative in fragments that build to a nightmarish intensity as irrevocable as the forces he describes. His view of man's inhumanity to man is sad rather than cynical; finding racism in Canada as well as Casaquemada, Raj understands that it exists everywhere. At the end of the novel, he muses "I go, like my forebears, to the future, to the challenge that lies elsewhere of turning nothing into something . . . . " But the passage does not ring with hope; rather, it is the futility of hope that we read between the lines. This is a book that can make a difference in the way we perceive the modern world.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Penguin. Paperback. Condition: Good. This book has a light amount of wear to the pages, cover and binding. Seller Inventory # G0140118233I3N00
Book Description Penguin Books Canada, Limited, Toronto, ON, Canada, 1989. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: Good. spine crease, edge wear to cover, solid reading copy. Seller Inventory # 107482
Book Description Penguin Books, Toronto, 1989. Wraps (Paperback). Condition: Moderate Edge & Shelfwear. Pages are clean and binding is tight. . Seller Inventory # 28380
Book Description Penguin Books Canada, Limited, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1989. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: Good to Very Good. Covers have some edgewear and creasing of the spine. Some ink annotation of the text. Otherwise a very good reading copy. Seller Inventory # 061490
Book Description Penguin, 1989. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. 0140118233. Seller Inventory # IM162672
Book Description Penguin, Markham On, 1989. Paperback. Condition: Good. Seller Inventory # 000668
Book Description Penguin, 1989. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. this copy is signed on the title page by Neil Bissoondath, this binding is tight the text is clean light bit of shelf wear. Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # HEROES003661I
Book Description Penguin, 1989. Mass Markeet. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket. Mass Market Paperback in very good condition, tighlty bund, squared with an unmarked interior. Wear to the extremities and cover scuffing. ; 12mo 7" - 7½" tall; 378 pages. Seller Inventory # 11001
Book Description Penguin, 1989. Condition: Good. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP85628163
Book Description Penguin Books., 1989. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: FINE. Seller Inventory # 107081