The book, a series of narratives published by Peepal Tree Press in Leeds, United Kingdom, last year, has been shortlisted in the category of best first book by a writer from Canada or the Caribbean. You can see some of the other books nominated at the Commonwealth website here.
The book has been largely well received, with academic and critic David Dabydeen describing it thus in a review for the UK's Independent newspaper:
The remarkable quality of this book is how closely observed character and landscape are, a precision which pays homage to both Naipaul and Walcott. The prose simmers, then erupts into outrageously satirical commentary on island life, the calms down again, Ramcharitar displaying a superb control of narrative flow.For those of you who missed The Island Quintet, here is its opening sentence:
Trying to remember the moments leading up to this occasion, I stand here, staring out over the disembodied faces: Babs, rosy and content, her face's angles just beginning to curve into motherly roundness; Bain, upright and grey, protectively close to her; Balthazar, restless eyes constantly moving in search of the perspective that eludes the rest of us; the girl's furious, helpless red eyes; the Artist's parents, featureless and bewildered; Aixman's flat, rapacious face retaining its ruddiness even in the gravity of the occasion, unfazed by the Gothic scale and slant of the roof, the stained-glass windows, the marble pillars of the nave.READ more about The Island Quintet here.