Doing the Heart Good
By (author) Neil Bissoondath
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Doing the Heart Good by Neil Bissoondath
Book DescriptionThe burning down of his house propels Alistair, now living with his daughter, her husband and child, to reflect on the causes and effects of life: how momentary impulses change the course of direction, how unexpected horrors still haunt him, how friendship can be nurtured as well as starved, how love sustains, how hatred destroys and how, in a ramshackle way, it all makes a peculiar, and rather moving, sort of sense. This is a writer at the very apex of his art, understated, calm, totally in control of his craft.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780743220217
(198mm x 129mm x mm)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 3-Feb-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Neil Bissoondath
Casual Brutality, Paperback (July 2003)» View all books by Neil Bissoondath
The first novel from Canadian literary giant Neil Bissoondath, now reissued in Scribner: A dark and powerful novel about the failure of a decent man to come to terms with the moral disintegration of his Caribbean homeland, shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize
UK Kirkus Review » When his home is burnt down, Alistair Mackenzie, a mild and likeable retired academic, moves in with his daughter Agnes and her family. Alistair fought in the Second World War. Now widowed, frail and deaf, he desperately misses his wife. His sister is in a home suffering from senile dementia and his daughter, while kindly, inhabits a world from which Alistair is feeling increasingly distanced. For a man who loves Dickens and Austen, Agnes's dedication to soap operas has scant meaning, shopping malls even less. Then, struggling round one of the latter one day before Christmas, he finds himself entranced by a display of fine writing paper. He choses a box for his daughter, only to realize later that he has made a mistake. This is a gift relevant to himself, a gift that speaks of the past. The past is a foreign country, he recalls, although he can no longer remember who said this and is not certain he agrees with it. Alistair peels back the layers of memory to make his own journey back to that country. Born in Trinidad, Neil Bissoondath has lived in Canada since 1973. Author of six awardwinning books, one of which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize, this latest hints at discipleship to another Trinidadian. (He dedicates it to V S Naipaul.) This is not, however, in any way to suggest pretension or servility of style. Rather, Bissoondath has produced one of those rare literary novels written straight from the heart. Intensely readable yet profound, it eschews gimmick and artifice to succeed at every level. A deceptively smooth texture and elusive wit are but aspects of a work that, if there is any justice in this world, will be acclaimed as one of the year's best. For, like the writing paper that so delights the author's protagonist, here is fiction of finest quality. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Neil Bissoondath
Neil Bissoondath was born in Trinidad, in 1955. He studied for his BA at York University, Toronto, and went on to receive a scholarship for the Advanced Writing Programme at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Since 1985 he has published seven award-winning books, the most recent of which is DOING THE HEART GOOD, published by Scribner in 2002.
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