A lush and evocative tale of prejudice, painting and desire in post-emancipation Trinidad.
About the book
Trinidad, 1848. Michel Jean Cazabon returns home from France to his beloved mother's deathbed. Despite the Emancipation Act, his childhood home is in the grip of colonial power, its people riven by the legacy of slavery. Michel Jean finds himself caught between the powerful and the dispossessed. As an artist, he enjoys the governor's patronage, painting for him the island's vistas and its women; as a Trinidadian he shares easy wisdom and nips of rum with the local boat-builders. But domestic tensions and haunting reminders of the past abound. His fiery half-sister Josie - the daughter of a slave - still provokes in him a youthful passion; his flirtatious muse Augusta tempts him as he paints her 'for posterity'. Meanwhile, letters from his white, French wife and children remind him of their imminent arrival on the island.
Written in a magnificent prose style that matches the art it describes
Like Cazabon, we fall in love numerous times with this complicated world, full of prejudice and social injustice. Scott, born on a sugar estate, knows this society intimately and paints this world with skill and grace.
A beautiful subtle and sensitive novel
In this intimate, compassionate portrait of 19th century Trinidad, Lawrence Scott presents a gripping tale of a world burdened by its secrets and exposed by its art.
Accomplished ... Scott's book is more than just a fanciful biography, with the author exploring a wide range of issues, from race to sexual equality. Throughout it all the writing is magnificent.