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“Shani Mootoo digs deep into the heart of classic storytelling, expanding, sculpting, and molding what is expected into a completely fresh approach to narrative. Her language and characters seduce us away to a mythic place that is, by turns, as sweet as the first knowing of love and as hard as a callous blow. Inside the grand sweep of the story are the finely tuned details which mark a brilliant storyteller.” Jewelle Gomez
Cereus Blooms at Night
978-0-8021-4462-1 • $16.00 • Paperback • Nov. 2009
“A story of magical power.”Alice Munro
Shani Mootoo’s haunting and evocative debut novel has taken the international literary world by storm. A finalist for the 1997 Giller Prize, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, Cereus Blooms at Night has established Shani Mootoo as one of our most gifted new storytellers.
Set on a fictional Caribbean island in the town of Paradise, Cereus Blooms at Night unveils the mystery surrounding Mala Ramchandin and the tempestuous history of her family. At the heart of this bold and seductive novel is an alleged crime committed many years before the story opens. Mala is the aging, notoriously crazy woman suspected of murder who is delivered to the Paradise Alms House after a judge finds her unfit to stand trial. When she arrives at her new home, frail and mute, she is placed in the tender care of Tyler, a vivacious male nurse, who becomes her unlikely confidant and the storyteller of Mala’s extraordinary life.
In luminous, sensual prose that “employs myth and magic reminiscent of Isabel Allende” (Out magazine), Mootoo joins diverse storytelling traditions to explore identity, gender, and violence in a celebration of our capacity to love despite cruelty and despair.