Cereus Blooms at Night, writer and artist Shani Mootoo's first novel, was a finalist for several of Canada's most prestigious literary awards, including the Giller Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Tyler, the narrator of this multigenerational novel, is a gay male nurse at a residential home in Paradise, a town on the amazing fictional island of Lantanacamara. Tyler's favorite charge is the notorious Mala Ramchandin, whose past is as rich and mysterious as the island setting. Through dialogue and flashback Tyler learns of the colonialism and racism, love and envy, betrayal, incest, death, abandonment, and lesbian escape that are part of the complicated Ramchandin family history. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The fecund and fertile cycles of Caribbean life pervade this powerful first novel from Mootoo (Out on Main Street), who invokes all the senses, especially sight and smell, to portray the town of Paradise on the fictional island of Lantanacamara. When Mala Ramchandin, the town madwoman and a rumored murderess, checks into the Paradise Alms Hotel, the only nurse compassionate enough to properly care for her is Tyler, the young narrator of the tale. As a gay man who has always been considered an oddity on the island, he forms an outsider's friendship with Mala. While Tyler slowly gains Mala's trust, readers more clearly see the mosaic that makes up Mala's sad, enigmatic life and come to understand her strange "uncivilized" habits as a form of self-preservation against cruelties endured, including her mother's abandonment, the incestuous relations forced on her by her father and, most haunting of all, the loss (via emigration) of her beloved younger sister. Tyler himself becomes more complex as he reflects on his sexuality. His self-discovery and the secrets of Mala's past might in other hands have become the stuff of melodrama, but Mootoo puts this material to much finer use in a narrative reminiscent of Maryse Conde's work. The seamless plot structure builds to a macabre, satisfying climax and to equally satisfying portraits of two memorable, complex characters against a fascinating, sensuously rendered background. (Sept.) FYI: Cereus Blooms at Night was a finalist for the 1997 Giller Prize, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. One of Mootoo's paintings appears on the cover; she has exhibited her work internationally. She is also a filmmaker.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the most beautiful books I ever read. a modern classic.Published 3 months ago by Ms. Sian Richards
Favorite Fiction Book a deep complex story of love and identity.Published 7 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 18 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 21 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