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Butterfly In The Wind

Written by Chris Searle for Morning Star on no date provided

IN THESE three novels [Kincaid’s Lucy and Brenda Flanagan’s You Alone are Dancing are also considered] the Caribbean woman speaks. But perhaps because they are all written from metropolitan exile in Britain or the US, there is also the underlying sound of Empire coming out below their words.

Lakshmi Persaud’s Butterfly in the Wind is a strongly autobiographical story of her Trinidadian childhood, as the daughter of an Indian shopkeeper in the ‘40s and ‘50s, tells of an education overshadowed by Empire and the revisiting memories of history, of ancestors who made another Atlantic passage to become indentured labourers in island sugar plantations. ‘In my school atlas the British Empire was represented in pink and it looked as if pink ink had been accidentally spilt on every continent of the world.’ Such are the reflections of a schoolgirl in Trinidad who is also singing Cock Robin, Who is Sylvia and Do You Ken John Peel in her music lessons.

Lakshmi Persaud’s story also breathes love and respect for her people, anger at the poverty that most of them faced - and marvels through words at the beauty and discovery that a child finds as, impression by impression, she struggles to make sense of an India in the Americas all around her and its wider subjection by a persuasive power another ocean crossing away.

This is a review of Butterfly In The Wind

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