With summer 2016 underway, the Indo Caribbean Special Collection at the Lefferts Branch of Queens Library has over 200 titles in all genres to complement your day at the beach or in the backyard. I personally recommend all of the books in the collection, but I will attempt to narrow that list with these recommendations:
1. Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo
First on the list is Cereus Blooms at Midnight by Shani Mootoo. Mootoo is a brilliant, deeply talented writer who draws from her life and experiences to write, with dignity, about those who are not fully accepted by society. Without revealing too much of the plot, Mala Ramchandin supposedly takes revenge on her father for his abuse of her and her sister. Her story is told via her nurse at the home where she now resides, after being declared unfit to stand trial. The characters in the story, who in many ways live on the fringe of society, will draw you in and keep you connected to the narrative.
The collection also hosts Ms. Mootoo's other novels, He Drown She in Sea and Valmiki's Daughter, which are highly recommended.
2. No Pain Like This Body by Sonny Ladoo
No Pain Like This Body by Harold Sonny Ladoo is another tragic novel featuring Indian immigrants in Trinidad. It is raw, real, and captures the essence of early Indian existence in Trinidad. Much like Cereus, the theme of alcoholism, illness, and death are repeated in this novel.
Ladoo, a young writer who was hailed for this classic masterpiece, was tragically and mysteriously found dead while in Trinidad doing research for his follow-up novel.