'Butterfly in the Wind' front cover

"I was quite unable to put it down... Please write the sequel soon."

J. Wilson, London, UK.

"This unassuming and sweet-natured book is above all a tremendous celebration of life and its simple pleasures."

The Sunday Times, UK, March 17, 1991.

"Lakshmi Persaud maintains the high tradition of Indian Caribbean writings set by V.S. Naipaul."

India Weekly.

"This is a book which is beautifully written with an entrancing story and an understated political insight into what it is to be a child."

Leeds Other Paper, UK.

"The empathy with which Lakshmi Persaud writes of the natural world and the warmth of her descriptions suggests that she learnt much from the place where she grew up."

The Sunday Observer, UK.

"It is an authentic chronicle of self-development in one colonial situation…. It is intense, poignant and eloquent."

Toronto South Asian Review.

"we were exhilarated by the richness and tenderness of the novel."

Barbados Advocate

"Many many congratulations. Your book gave me enormous pleasure. Of course it captures a world which I don’t know from personal experience – but so much of it still rings true from my own childhood. You remind me of myself..."

Monica, Richmond, Surrey, U.K.

"We must be grateful for the sensitive portrait which Lakshmi Persaud has given us of a way of living so often misinterpreted only because it is different or exotic and not given the chance to be seen as simply human."

Barbados Daily Nation

"The book is so nicely written and has just those goodies I like so much in your work. Congratulations."

Olwyn Wymark, author and lecturer, London UK

"I obtained Butterfly in the Wind and find it beautiful. Lakshmi Persaud exactly catches how a child feels about all the confusing things adults do and how the growing child struggles to make sense of it all and emerges with some kind of morality."

Pauline Mystery, U.K.

Butterfly in the Wind

Lakshmi Persaud’s first novel Butterfly in the Wind (Peepal Tree 1990) is the story of Kamla, a young girl growing up in 1940s Trinidad.

From early in her life Kamla is surprised by a contrary inner voice which frequently gainsays the received wisdom of her elders and betters. But Kamla is growing up in a traditional Hindu community and attending schools in colonial Trinidad where obedient rote learning is still the order of the day. She learns that this voice creates nothing but trouble and silences it.

In this sensitive work of fictionalised auto-biography Kamla's voice is freed to give a richly inward picture of her life, from the vivid sensory impressions of early childhood to the developing sensibility of a young woman at the crossroads of diverse social, cultural and religious influences.

Extracts

"And then it came upon the roof tops, falling like a harvest of rice grains, and the wind like a sea serpent swished and curved and changed direction. Again the thunder rolled and the pounding began. The falling water bathed the shop and the gallery where I stood, and the kitchen and the open clothes-shed. An onion box, and old saucepan and two buckets in the yard were bathing. Everything was bathing.

I looked around. There was no one. My thin feet were excited but I waited.

I waited for the waterfalls and they came as I knew they would, galvanised from the roofs on to the spouting. Our roofs were many, standing at different heights, fringed with gutters and spouts. I took my clothes off and ran out to embrace the falling, dancing sprays. I was full of laughter; was thrilled and excited, for our private yard had become one gigantic shower – an emperor’s luxury".

...............................

"In my school atlas the British Empire was represented in pink and it looked as if pink ink had accidentally been spilt on every continent. Now, after 1947, that colour would have to be removed from the subcontinent of India.

This was of great psychic importance to Indians in Trinidad. It should have been of equal importance to all non-white races in British colonial Trinidad; but sadly we were a people already divided amongst ourselves...

‘Miraculous’ that was my father’s word. The night before the march he said to me: ‘Look at it this way. In India you will find very poor people. People without a formal education. Untutored. The mass of Indians are poor, millions have died in famines while the British were there and no doubt it will take time before there is enough for all. And yet what those ordinary men and women have done? They have accomplished the impossible. They have forced a people who colonised them for 300 years to leave with all their military grandeur, their false arrogance, their machinery of educated men in London, full of their own importance and of the images they had created of themselves and of us all; these men were overthrown, not by Western methods but by an essential Indian method of Satyagraha—mass civil disobedience. India’s Independence is a great human achievement. It is an achievement of statesmen over politicians, an achievement of the spirit of the common man over false overlords. Now would you have thought that possible? Would you have thought that you too were living in times of great hope for mankind? The large struggles of life are not confined to the Ramayana or the Mahabharata’

I could not respond to what my father had said. I did not know how to."