Torn between confession and self-justification, President for Life, Robert Augustus Devonish writes his memoirs as his country falls apart around him; Kamilia prepares for a workers' last stand against his regime; Vasu sets off to investigate the rumours of untold horrors in a commune deep in the interior; and Marguerite Devonish has to decide between loyalty to family or country in bringing to an end her brother's crimes.
Through these and many other unforgettable characters Lakshmi Persaud tells of the last days of the Caribbean island of Maya before it sinks beneath the sea. This challenging novel profoundly dramatises the consequences of ethnic prejudice in a culture of masks which gives licence to individuals to abandon moral responsibility for their actions. Its echoes resonate across the killing fields of Bosnia, Kosova, East Timor - or wherever state power gives free rein to the most primal impulses of kith and kin.
Told through multiple voices, whose tones range through the lyrical, the direct and unvarnished, the conversational and the polished, For the Love of My Name weaves a striking tapestry of hatreds and loves, duty and the degradation of consciousness, despairs and hopes. Above all the bright threads of human resilience glint in the weave.
Jeremy Taylor writes in Caribbean Beat: 'Lakshmi Persaud's third novel is a much more ambitious affair than her first two... It asks the question: why and how do we allow tyranny to take root? As the despot entrenches himself - the violence, the sophistry, the vote-rigging, the power-games, the asset-stripping - why is he not unmasked by other governments, by the intellectual elite, by the churches, by ordinary thinking people? Why is it so easy for him to outsmart us, divide us, manipulate us, until it is too late and there is only ruin and desolation? These are questions which range far beyond the Caribbean, but they are dangerous and uncharted territory for the Caribbean novel (yes, and why is that?), especially when the case study is a barely disguised version of a Caribbean state which will be easily recognised by any Caribbean reader. (And itís not Cuba, either; this is not post-Cold War polemic.) Whatís more, Persaud suggests a large number of persuasive answers, which do no credit to anyone. The book is adventurous in its structure and its range of narrative voices... an important book...'
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Lakshmi Persaud was born in 1939 in Trinidad. She is the author of Butterfly in the Wind, Sastra and For the Love of My Name. She lives in London.