Allah in the Islands
The novel returns to the aftermath of the trial of Beatrice Salandy and the villagers of Rosehill on the island of Santabella first met in Flanagan’s novel You Alone Are Dancing. Though Beatrice is acquitted to the joy of the village, it is clear that nothing has changed. Though Santabella has been independent for several decades, only the new Black ruling class has benefited. Most Santabellans struggle to scratch a living, find adequate schools, healthcare or even reliable basic services. Cynical corruption flourishes and the queues to get visas to escape to America grow ever longer and more desperate. For Beatrice there is the recognition that Sonny, the man she loved, has wholly abandoned her, settled in the USA with a white American wife.
Brenda Flanagan
ISBN number
Fiction, Novel
Country setting
Imaginary Caribbean
Publication date
31 Aug 2009


But there is one new element: a rapidly growing radical Muslim movement with a growing appeal to the poor Black people of Santabella with their welfare schemes, grass-roots campaigning and air of incorruptibility. And there is the Haji, the charismatic leader of movement who combines a media-savvy native wit, a well-developed mystique and a steely control over his group. Even Beatrice is impressed. Between the Mosque, regularly raided for arms by the police and army and Rosehill is Abdul, whose aunt lives in the village and who is the Haji’s second in command. It is Abdul, decent serious Abdul, who is one of the main narrative voices in the novel. But does his sincerity go with honesty about the violent coup that the Haji plans? Abdul’s becomes a fascinatingly unreliable voice, part revealer, part concealer of the truth.


Brenda Flanagan

Brenda Flanagan was born in Trinidad in 1949, the twelfth of fourteen children in an impoverished family. Her father was a barman, her mother a laundress. Brenda Flanagan recalls having a hunger for involvement with the wider world and dreamt of being a writer. She started writing poetry at the age of ten and by thirteen she was singing calypsos and earning money for it. However, at the age of fourteen she had to leave school to help support her family, by then only parented by her mother. She worked for a time in a factory, then was taken on as a trainee reporter of The Nation, the newspaper of the then ruling People's National Movement led by Dr. Eric Williams.
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