'For the Love of my Name' front cover

" 'For the Love of my Name' is a Caribbean tale of tyranny and oppression, of love and hate, of hope and despair, brilliantly told and powerfully written."

Calvin Bowen, Sunday Gleaner, Jamaica.

"Reading it was an act of sustained pleasure... Here was a wicked demonstration of elegance, dexterity, imagination and total control of the language... Congratulations on an outstanding novel."

Judaman Seecoomar, Writer, U.K.

"I just could not put it down. Excellent stuff. It makes me wonder if I should change my PhD thesis. She has done the work with such flourish."

K Karran, Phd student, U.K.


"For the Love of my Name is one of the most remarkable novels which has come out of the Caribbean in the last decade. It is a moving and disturbing novel."

Pat Dial, University of Guyana.


"Honest, Fearless and also generous, this is the book for the millennium, one to shake comfortable assumptions of rectitude into recognition of the abyss into which some of us may fall while others fail to care. I couldn’t put it down. It is also, in a sense a book which marks the maturing of Caribbean Literature"

Pamela Beshoff, Writer and Journalist, The Weekly Gleaner, UK.


"For the Love of my Name is a moving, disturbing profound novel. It is an important novel to be coming out at this moment in history, as we turn into a new millennium and inevitably must think about the qualities and values that might – will – should—characterise human societies in the future...Indeed in so far as I have read another novel that deals with some of these issues in a comparable way, then the great Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s 'Anthills of the Savannah' is the book that comes closest. It was shortlisted for the Booker prize: I would hope that the judges for the year 2000 Booker pay due attention to Lakshmi’s book, it is of that quality and originality."

Dr Stewart Brown, Poet and co-editor of 'The Oxford book of Caribbean Short Stories', Senior Lecturer in African and Caribbean Literature, University of Birmingham U.K.


"For those of us who lived through those times the novel will give meaning to experiences which we just could not deal with at the time and which we have sought to put aside but with which we must now come to terms. When younger people ask about those days this is the novel from your own personal library, however small, that you will wish to put in their hands."

Lloyd Searwar, Head, Foreign Service Institute, Guyana.

For the Love of My Name

Torn between confession and self-justification, President for Life, Robert Augustus Devonish writes his memoirs as his country falls apart around him; Kamila 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 an end to 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 and of 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 reign to the most primal impulses of kith and kin.

Told though 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.

Extracts

"Two corbeaux slowly circle the early morning sky. As the sun steadily rises, the numbers of scavenger birds increase. Groups of sugar workers approach the estate. Their numbers are growing with the rising sun. Today they are not entering the sugar-cane fields, their slender swinging arms swiftly slicing the sweet stems. Today they are not all backs bending – grasshoppers cutting, cutting, hidden by the tall stems – heads pivoted, arms and legs in motion. Today they are upright. Men and women seeking wages more akin to the value of their tasks. It is a simple way and all they have – the withdrawal of their energies – like a power cut. They know they must stay together or their weave will unravel."

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

"The purple-masked ladies of the Women’s Socialist Movement had come to the end of their monthly meeting. ‘Glass, comrades,’ Madam Chairperson said, ‘as we all know permits light to enter. The construction of the factory is symbolic; it marks a turning point for us.’

‘A glass factory also means sparkle and refinement. Let us not forget that,’ another said.

This was the kind of technological advance that Mayans, accustomed to putting their main export in jute bags, had been seeking from the development process.

The committee members of the WSM would not have dreamt of being critical of their Government; their suppressed disappointments found expression in the excitement over having a glass factory in the midst of so much unemployment and the ever deepening depression.

It was suggested …that a glass factory had other advantageous features. …It could, unlike, say, a cassava flour mill, become a tourist attraction.

‘A glass factory,’ Madam Chairperson explained, ‘is our way of saying to tourists that we are becoming industrialised.’ Smiles came to their faces. These well meaning ladies felt there was something about the word industrialised that had intimate connections with the industrious, diligent—dynamic modern economies.

'Think, Comrades what a glass factory will do to enhance our image' It was a voice rolling out a carpet of warm hope.

‘Yes.’ said a young woman, ‘I’m all for it. There’s something clean about glass; you can see any speck on it. We all like to know what we are drinking.’ She laughed."