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Casual Brutality
By (author): Neil Bissoondath
9781896951409 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Caribbean Islands Mar 21, 2003
$19.95 CAD
Active 5.43 x 8.46 x 1.03 in | 392 gr 404 pages Cormorant Books
 
Smithbooks/<i> Books in Canada</i> First Novel Award 1988, Nominated <i>Guardian</i> Fiction Prize 1988, Nominated

A Casual Brutality is a powerful, dark novel about the failure of a decent man to come to terms with the moral disintegration of the Caribbean island of his birth.

Casaquemada is a fragile West Indian republic divided by racial antagonism, lured into a spurious nationalism by impotent rulers, awash in a mindless consumerism fostered by easy money and a lust for an imported version of the good life. Raj Ramsingh is a Toronto doctor who returns to his native island only to leave it again, having paid a tragic price for his unwillingness to recognize the cruel imperatives of the men who will determine Casaquemada’s fate.

A Casual Brutality takes the reader into a world of terrifying dualities: illusion has become destruction; decency had become helplessness; nationhood has become tribalism; and a violent future looks only towards a brutal past. A novel as timely now as when it was first published in 1988.

Neil Bissoondath is the author of two short story collections, Digging Up the Mountains and On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows, and five novels, A Casual Brutality, The Innocence of Age, Doing the Heart Good, The Unyielding Clamour of Night, and The Soul of All Great Designs. His fiction has been nominated for many prizes, including The Guardian Fiction Prize, the Smithbooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the Governor General’s Literary Award. He has twice won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and once won the Canadian Authors Association Prize for Fiction. His non-fiction book, Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada (1994) won the Gordon Montador Award. Originally from Trinidad, Neil now lives in Quebec City with his wife and daughter. He is a professor in the Département des literatures at Université Laval.

“Mr. Bissoondath draws with complexity and precision … few first novels have the depth and reach of A Casual Brutality.” - The New York Times

“There is an extravagant talent evident in this work.” - Newsday

“This is a book that can make a difference in the way we perceive the modern world … A Casual Brutality heralds the arrival of a compassionate and humane new voice.” - Publishers Weekly

“An absorbing and very readable novel, written with intelligence, conviction and wit.” - London Weekend Telegram

“[Bissoondath] handles his theme and his characters with such dexterity and aplomb that it’s hard to remember this is a first novel … a powerful and troubling novel.” - The Globe and Mail

“Bissoondath is a superb tale-spinner: the novel is always engrossing, and towards the end… it builds force like the political thriller it partly is.” - Books in Canada

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