For the first half of the book, Mootoo moves easily between Tyler's narrative and a third-person account of Mala's life as a child. The chapters covering the adoption of Mala's father, Chandin Ramchandin, by a white missionary and his wife and Chandin's obsession with his foster sister, Lavinia, offer a telling perspective on race and colonialism; later chapters detailing Chandin's descent into alcoholism, madness, and child abuse are occasionally overwrought, but the strong, child's-eye point of view of young Mala keeps the novel grounded. The second half of Cereus abandons both Tyler and the omniscient narrator, choosing to focus, instead, on Otoh Mohanty, the son of Mala's childhood friend, Boyie. Here Mootoo also introduces, for the first time, elements of the fantastic: a girl who "wills" herself to become a boy; a man who sleeps for weeks at a time, only waking one day each month; a mysterious, locked room that holds a horrifying secret. The result is pure melodrama wrapped up in lovely prose.
Even though the last half of the book seems too suddenly freighted towards the magical and improbable, and the happy ending is a trifle too contrived, Cereus Blooms at Night showcases Shani Mootoo's impressive mastery of language. And in Mala Ramchandin, she has created a tough and tender heroine who commands the reader's interest and sympathy from first page to last. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Favorite Fiction Book a deep complex story of love and identity.Published 2 months ago by Eliza J. Combs
You go Shani Mootoo. I loved the novel. The story was complicated and dished out in portions but all the better to digest when you reach the end.Published 14 months ago by Gretna B
This is a breathtaking story with chilling ethical and moral challenges that haunted me beyond the reading of the book.Published 17 months ago by Elke Martin
This book was ordered as part of a bundle of textbooks needed for the Spring 2013 semester. The books arrived within two days due to my Amazon Prime subscription, and were in brand... Read morePublished on December 22, 2012 by John
A few months ago when I reviewed Shani Mootoo's most recent novel, Valmiki's Daughter, I prefaced the review with an admission that I already loved Mootoo's writing before I even... Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by caseythecanadianlesbrarian
A voice screams out at you, The momentary embrace of the eyes in a far away camera glance. A dismissal of worth. Read morePublished on April 13, 2012 by M. Vanveenendaal
This is a wonderful book that combines nation (its set on an imaginary Caribbean island) that considers a S. Read morePublished on November 18, 2009 by Jillana
My English professor assigned this novel for class during my freshman year of college. Although I started it grudgingly, I eventually fell in love with the world Shani Mootoo... Read morePublished on May 15, 2006 by K. Wong
Cereus Blooms was fascinating in how it brought alive life in a little Caribbean town. The portrayals of Chandin , Mala and Lavinia were so real I feel I know them in person. Read morePublished on September 28, 2005 by The Mad Pai