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The Whale House and Other Stories

Millar, Sharon
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press Ltd
Published: April 1, 2015
ISBN: 9781845232498
170 pages

£8.99

A pathologist is asked to lie about a boy killed on government orders; a sister tries to make peace with the parents of the white American girl her brother has murdered; a gangster makes his posthumous lament. Trinidad in all its social tumult is ever present in these stories, but so too are the lives of those with private griefs: a woman mourning the still-birth of her baby; a young mother with cancer facing her mortality.

Millar’s characters come intensely alive at points of crisis, of existential threat.The stories in this collection range wide: across different ethnic communities; across rural and urban settings; across the moneyed elite (and illicit new wealth) and the poor scrabbling for survival; locals and expatriates; the certainties of rational knowledge and the mysteries of the unseen and the uncanny. Different locations in Trinidad are brought to the reader through a precise and sensuous mapping of the country’s fauna and flora.

Characters thread their way through different stories, but what ties the collection together is Sharon Millar’s distinctively personal voice: cool, unsentimental and empathetic. If irony is the only way to inscribe contemporary Trinidad, there is also room for the possibility of redemption.

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