Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dear Future by Fred D'Aguiar

A bit disjointed book composed of four sections with a vague linkage.

The first section is a quirky Wilson-Harris-ish story about an extended family who
falls foul of a henchman character based on Burnham.
The second part uses three well-known characters from the 70's/80's, one of whom
being Burnham, on which to base the three principal characters of this
section-- I found this section the most amusing.
The third section focussed on the missing character/s referred to in the first
section and is also linked in to the second section. It was interesting that he
worked in a Muslim character with all the contradictions of living a
Working-class existence in London, reminiscent of a character from Monica Ali's
Brick Lane which was written in 1996 before all the hoo-hah over Islam blew up.
The last section was from the protagonist of the first section written to the
Future from limbo-land.

Although the book won the 1996 Guyana Prize for Literature I wasn't that taken with it, I
enjoyed the references to unique Guyanese things like 'star boy', Ole Higue and feeling for Hassar, I just wondered if these things are now more treasured by nostalgic writers than used by contemporary Guyanese society?
Clearly Burnham and Jagan made a mark on writers from that era, albeit only a couple decades ago, as I noticed the similarity to Lakshmi Persaud's "For The Love of my Name", of using them to base primary imaginary characters. Unfortunately neither could be described as great reads. I rate it a Bookclub 0-neither liking or disliking it.

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