MP 6 – Digging Up the Mountains by Neil Bissoondath

Digging Up the Mountains by Neil Bissoondath (Macmillan Paperback 6) front coverDigging Up the Mountains

From the Back Cover:

“Neil Bissoondath, who came to Toronto 12 years ago from Trinidad, makes his debut with this book, and a most impressive beginning it is. He’s a natural writer, with surprising assurance and poise.” – William French, Globe and Mail

Focussing on contemporary themes of cultural dislocation, revolution, and the shifting politics of the Third World, Neil Bissoondath weaves compelling stories about West Indians in their strife-torn islands, West Indian and other immigrants to Canada, and the victims of violence in nameless, fragile countries around the world.

Like all first-class writers, Bissoondath brings his themes to life through vivid, unique characters. Whether it is Harri Beharry, the prosperous island businessman who falls out of favour with the new regime and its “state of emergency”; or Sheila, the Trinidadian maid lured to Toronto at her sister’s urging only to discover there a new, insidious form of racism among her own people; or Emilio the gravekeeper, forced to guard the secrets of the revolution at the expense of of his own family and sanity; all of the characters resonate with the author’s compassion for people threatened by circumstances beyond their control.

Hailed by writers such as Margaret Laurence (“A strong new voice with an impressive range”) and V. S. Naipaul (I welcome this book by my nephew. I’m staggered by the talent which is already so developed; the texture of the prose, the vision. the scenes, the people, the narrative orchestration”), thirty-year-old Neil Bissoondath’s first book has gained unanimous applause. Ken Adachi of the Toronto Star has called it “a major work and a welcome edition to a slowly increasing body of first-rate work produced by immigrants to Canada.”

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