The Repenters takes us to places in Trinidad readers will not have been before. Poetic, gothic, and troubling, Jordon Sant will stay with you. The Repenters was recently featured on BBC Radio 4's Writing a New Caribbean.
When the infant Jordon Sant is taken to the St Asteria Home for Children after the murder of his parents, he sets out on a journey that is a constant struggle between his best and worst selves. One relationship, with the young nun the children call Mouse, awakens the possibilities of love and hope, but when Mouse abandons her calling and leaves the home, the world thereafter becomes a darker place. Barely a teenager, he runs away from the home to scuffle for a living in the frightening underbelly of Port of Spain. There Jordon reaches the lower depths of both Trinidadian society and himself.
In Jordon Sant, Kevin Jared Hosein creates a narrator who gets under your skin. He takes us into the most dreadful places of human experience, confesses doing seemingly unforgivable things. But though Jordan knows how inescapable circumstance can be, he never denies responsibility for his actions. But can this Dostoyevskian figure save himself?
The Repenters takes us to places in Trinidad readers will not have been before. In Kevin Hosein the Caribbean announces a writer whose work is poetic, gothic, and deeply transgressive, whose creation of a voice for Jordon Sant is troubling, engrossing and not to be forgotten.
“...marks a subversive new talent in storytelling. Tracing the unlikely journey of an even unlikelier narrator, Jordon Sant, through the miseries and moral ambiguities of his young life, The Repenters peers into the seedy underbelly that lurks beneath polite Trinidadian society. The nuns, caretakers and wise men with which you're familiar do not show their faces here.
Instead, in pellucid prose that never lets the reader off the hook, Hosein maps a sinister, smart, surprisingly funny cradle of T&T where villains and heroes wear interchangeable masks: a world of scorpions and frogs writ large...” SHIVANEE RAMLOCHAN
Kevin Jared Hosein lives in Trinidad. He won the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He was previously shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary Prize and is featured in the anthology Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. His debut book Littletown Secrets was published in 2013. His first novel, The Repenters, was nominated for the 2018 International DUBLIN Literary Award (formerly IMPAC Dublin) and longlisted 2017 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Cover art by Portia Subran