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Comment: A well cared for book. PLEASE READ FULL DESCRIPTION. Firm binding, cover and pages. . Tight spine with minimal creases. Covers exhibit light edge/corner wear/rubbing. There is an inventory dot on the bottom edge of the pages. Discounted due to trivial shelf wear.
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A Perfect Pledge: A Novel Hardcover – September 22, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Narpat is his Trinidadian village's scolding iconoclast and most vocal critic—a sort of King Lear of the sugarcane fields. He scorns his neighbors for their rum drinking, laziness, bad diet and use of electricity. Year upon year, his overworked wife, three daughters and one son, Jeeves, form a captive audience in this bittersweet and affectionate portrait spanning two decades. Age 55 by the time Jeeves is born in 1961 (a year before Trinidad's independence), within a few years Narpat runs for county councilor on a "futurist" platform and a promise to settle his fellow farmers' dispute with the local landowner. Meanwhile, Jeeves attends school, where variously incompetent and abusive teachers drone in stark contrast to Narpat and his practical autodidact's wisdom. As Jeeves watches his father's influence radiate beyond the family's ramshackle house, he has to decide how he will orient himself to his father's life and leanings. Born in Trinidad, Maharaj has published two previous novels in Canada, where he lives; this is his U.S. debut. Comparison to V.S. Naipaul's Indian-Trinidadian oedipal fiction will be inevitable, and Maharaj lacks Naipaul's acidic bite—probably intentionally. But he does have Naipaul's sense of grand scale in a small place, one that comes through on every page.
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From Booklist

Born in Trinidad, Maharaj portrays the life of one family living in Lengua, a "small, impoverished cane-farming village," in the years leading up to Trinidad's independence. Lengua is isolated and bereft of government-sponsored amenities, and most of the villagers have adopted a "comforting fatalism" about their lot in life. But not Narpat, the family's patriarch, who disparages those who have left their land for the cities, or turned to the rum shops for solace. Narpat raises his and his wife Dulari's four children according to a strict and unbending moral code--no Santa Claus, no school bazaars, no sweets or unnecessary school supplies, no frivolous clothing--and teaches them that "you must fight hard for everything you want." When Narpat runs for county councillor in the 1962 elections, his campaign promise is "to wipe out prejudice, superstition, laziness, jealousy, and . . . gossip." He wins, and in later years sees his children succeed, but the price of the loss of their love is too high. Maharaj's insightful saga ponders what Narpat gave up to maintain his high moral code. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (October 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374230706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374230708
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,847,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

RABINDRANATH MAHARAJ is the author of three novels: A Perfect Pledge (published simultaneously in 2005 by Knopf Canada and in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize; The Lagahoo's Apprentice (Knopf Canada, 2000) which was a Globe and Mail and a Toronto Star notable book of the year; and Homer in Flight (Goose Lane Editions, 1997) which was a finalist for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award; and three collections of short stories: The Book of Ifs and Buts (Vintage Canada, 2002), The Writer and His Wife (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 1996), and The Interloper (Goose Lane Editions, 1995) which was nominated for a Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada and Caribbean Region) for Best First Book. Born and raised in Trinidad, he immigrated to Canada in the early 1990s and now lives in Ajax, Ontario.

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Format: Hardcover
In 1956 Trinidad, Narpat Dubay's family lives quietly, this father of four tending his sugar cane patch and designing ingenious contraptions to make life easier. In Trinidad, nothing is ever planned, the frequent floods thought of as an act of God, a punishment, and Narpat seeks to rectify such ignorance. He has also noticed an influx of "Outsiders", squatters who fill empty houses as though they own the land. Narpat is determined to run them out and restore order to a country filled with corruption and graft: "Just like the invaders of India, the Outsiders were introducing a system of values alien to the village."

Overburdened by insidious poverty, Narpat's wife, Dulari, borrows two-hundred dollars from her more successful brother to outfit her children properly for school and to arrange transportation for the older girls. While they are dependant on local bus transportation, Dulari waits anxiously for her daughters to return, content only when she has purchased a safe ride for them. Overruled and his authority threatened, Narpat is furious, believing the walk is beneficial, but then he expects every inconvenience to be turned into a learning experience, always ready with homilies to instruct his children on the virtues of hard work. Narpat feels his wife is acting against his wishes, as he routinely attempts to instill good habits and independence in Jeeves, Chandra, Kala and Shushilla.

Trinidad's anticipated day of independence is August 31, 1962. With all the crooked politicians in the election, Narpat runs for county councilor, his main concern that the cane farmers own the deeds to their lands. Later, building his factory is an act intrinsically out of step in island society, the degree of individuality and authority he assumes an anomaly.
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Format: Hardcover
Maharaj has a knack for gently reminding us that, regardless of where we are born or live, we share a common and limited range of human emotion, desire, and experience. In A PERFECT PLEDGE, Narpat is a man with a mission. He endeavours to live what he needs to believe: that he is not what Trinidad has made others. Instead, in his own oddball way, he's determined to shape a new Trinidad--blind to the fact that his efforts, frustration, and idealism are slowly isolating him, making him an island within an island.

Readers will delight in the humorous quirks of Maharaj's characters and the vivid picture he paints of one man's struggle to be better than ordinary. More information and news about the author and his books can be found on his website, at rmaharaj dot wordpress dot com.
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