The Whale House: and Other Stories

The Whale House: and Other Stories
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press Ltd
Publication Year: 2015
ISBN: 9781845232498

Trinidad in all its social tumult is ever present in these beautifully written stories from Commonwealth Prize-winning writer, Sharon Millar where her characters come intensely alive at points of crisis. Millar’s 2013 Commonwealth Prize collection examines everyday localities and human complexities in beautifully subtle snapshots.

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About the Book

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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