All Decent Animals

By Oonya Kempadoo
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374299712, 260pp.)

Publication Date: April 30, 2013

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Description

Oonya Kempadoo's moving third novel, "All Decent Animals," looks at the personal and aesthetic choices of a multifaceted cast of characters on the Caribbean island of Trinidad--a country still developing economically but rich culturally, aiming at "world-class" status amid its poor island cousins. It is a novel about relationships, examined through the distinct rhythms of the city of Port of Spain.


Loyalties, love, conflicting cultures, and creativity come into play as Ata, a young woman working in carnival design but curious about writing, and her European boyfriend, Pierre, negotiate the care of their friend Fraser, a closeted gay man dying from AIDS. The contradictory Trinidadian setting becomes a parallel character to Fraser's Cambridge-derived artistic sensibility and an antagonist to Ata's creative journey.


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"All Decent Animals "is a forthright inquiry into the complexity of character, social issues, and island society, with all the island's humor, mysticism, and tragedy.




About the Author
Oonya Kempadoo was born in England to Guyanese parents. She has lived in Europe and on various islands in the Caribbean. Her first novel, "Buxton Spice", was published in 1998 to great acclaim. Her second novel, "Tide Running", won the prestigious Casa de las Americas Literary Prize for best English or Creole novel. Kempadoo lives in St. George's, Grenada.


NPR
Thursday, Aug 8, 2013

Tell Me More's summer reading series highlights authors from the Caribbean. Host Michel Martin talks to Oonya Kempadoo, whose novel All Decent Animals, gives readers look into life in Trinidad that is both lovely and tough. More at NPR.org

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