Tamarind Tree with Fruits
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The day is finally here. Today is the day I send my debut novel out into the world. It has been a long journey: four years in its conception and another five years in failing to find it a home. During the years of rejection from the guardians of the publishing world, I held onto the hope that Under the Tamarind Tree would enter the world when its time had come. Guyana, the setting for the novel, is now facing a constitutional crisis. In my adopted homeland, divisive racist politics is becoming the norm. Across our planet, gang violence and never-ending wars are driving families from their ancestral homes.
At the heart of Under the Tamarind Tree is the loss and pain that violence brings into our lives. In the United States, mass shootings by lone gunmen are devastating our communities, with little to no response from our law makers. The life of the protagonist, Richard Cheong, is changed forever when his younger brother, then eight years old, was shot to death under a tamarind tree. For Richard, the tamarind tree—a vengeful judge—becomes the personification of his guilt for not keeping his younger brother safe. His inconsolable mother’s death, shortly thereafter, had compounded his guilt. Her spirit haunted him.
Sometimes, she called out his name in the quiet of the night while he stretched out in his Berbice-chair listening to music. She often visited him in his dreams, drenched and shivering. Her chocolate-brown hair, caked with mud, draped down her back to her waist. She drowned him in her grief. (Prologue 1)
Old Georgetown – British Guiana – 1950s
Photo Credit: Guyanese Online Blog
The hardware store where protagonist, Richard Cheong, works is located at the end of this street across from Stabroek Market, shown in the background on the right.
To the guilt-ridden Richard, the only surviving male in his family, having a son would redeem him. But his beautiful and headstrong wife, Gloria, has borne him three girls. In October 1953, as he awaits the birth of what he hopes will be his long-awaited son, the British governor orchestrates a troop invasion, suspends the Guianese Constitution, and disbands the leftist government.
As political unrest rages across the colony, Richard learns that the people with the greatest power to harm him are those closest to him. Though he bore no responsibility for the deceit sown by his deceased father, Richard is the one who must reap the bitter fruit. Only when the sins of the past are brought into the light and forgiven will Richard find his redemption.
For readers who may have difficulty in remembering the names of the people in Richard’s life, a list of “The Characters” is available on my author website at rosalienebacchus.com. If you have not already done so, check out Ken Puddicombe’s review, as well as my articles on “The Making of Under the Tamarind Tree” and “Creating the Setting.”
Under the Tamarind Tree: A Novel is now available at Rosaliene’s Store on Lulu.com. I appreciate your support. Reviews and comments are most welcome. They will be added to my author’s website, together with your name and link to your website or blog.