Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Sly Company of People Who Care – Rahul Bhattacharya

How  in ironic that a definitive Guyanese novel accurately reporting on events taking place in a fateful year in Guyana along with known and unknown Guyanese characters, be written by a non-Guyanese!
He has an original style but accurately and faithfully recalls the Guyanese dialect and prejudices making it very easy to recognize the characters in Guyanese life. I loved the fact that he embraced the quirks of the people without being condescending and that he was very open to experiencing new and strange things – very unusual for the usually tight-assed bordering on anally retentive, introverted Indian National!
A friend said the ending was highly unlikely but that he had the artistic licence to incorporate an imagined ending - not far removed from the realities of living in Guyana. Most things rang true for me, having lived in Guyana during that period he wrote about and in fact attending the film show at Castellani House on the night he mentioned - slight exaggeration about the description of the audience but allowable. There was a bit of dissatisfaction in the papers about how it seemed that he looked for the worse things to ridicule but someone mentioned it is an indication to how low we've fallen - I felt it was a bit exaggerated myself but would not deny that there are attitudes like that around, maybe a bit one-sided as he steered clear from mentioning the hospitality shown to him by the middle-classes.  Also having gone overland to Kaieteur Falls and Venezuela - it thrilled me to read about some of the descriptions.

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