Debut novel by the author of Brother (published by Penguin Random House & Bloomsbury UK).
A soucouyant is an evil spirit in Caribbean folklore, and a symbol here of the distant and dimly remembered legacies that continue to haunt the Americas. This extraordinary first novel set in Ontario, in a house near the Scarborough Bluffs, focuses on a Canadian-born son who despairingly abandons his Caribbean-born mother suffering from dementia.
The son returns after two years to confront his mother but also a young woman who now mysteriously occupies the house. In his desire to atone for his past and live anew, he is compelled to imagine his mother’s life before it all slips into darkness ― her arrival in Canada during the early Sixties, her childhood in Trinidad during World War II, and her lurking secret that each have tried to forget.
Luminously poetic, Soucouyant marks the arrival of a major new literary talent in Canada.
“Soucouyant pulses with life and vigour, even as it breaks under the weight of age and sorrow. Chariandy writes with a rich clarity that never feels cluttered, an elliptical approach to both characterization and storytelling that feels utterly natural and unmannered. Rooting the novel in both the domestic and the fabulous, he avoids the pitfalls of each; in weaving the disparate strands together, he is able to explore the deep mysteries at the heart of families and individuals to find the truth at their core. It’s a delicate balancing act, and Chariandy never falters. The result is a novel that’s impossible to predict, and impossible to pin down. To read it is to be reminded of the power of writing, of storytelling, of lives laid bare, in all their secrets and mysteries, on the page.”
“Chariandy has created a breathtaking panorama of two lives and the ways they’ve shaped each other. Tight, expansive, poetic, and true to the realities of presenile dementia, Chariandy’s world is brutal, sympathetic, and beautiful.”
David Chariandy lives in Vancouver and teaches in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. His novel Soucouyant has received great attention and it was nominated for nearly every major literary prize in Canada, including a Governor General’s Literary Award nomination for Fiction, a Gold Independent Publisher Award for Best Novel, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.
The long-awaited second novel from David, Brother, has been published in September 2017 by Penguin Random House and Bloomsbury UK.