Worlds Within Her, The by Neil Bissoondath
Finalist for The Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 1999
“Like route lines on an airline map, The Worlds Within Her sprawls across time and space to link different worlds in Canada, the Caribbean, and Britain. Forty-year-old Yasmin returns to her “impossibly small” island home after her mother’s death, meeting a family she hasn’t seen since she emigrated to Canada in early childhood. Her visit with her Aunt Penny and Uncle Cyril includes a series of fascinating reminiscences that illuminate the world of Yasmin’s parents—movers and shakers in island politics—during the ‘40s and ’50s. She also reviews her own life in Canada through flashbacks: strained relations with her mother, a failed marriage, and professional success as a TV news anchor. The short chapters alternate between Yasmin’s journey of discovery and an extended reminiscence by her mother, Shakti, who lived in England, the Caribbean, and Canada. A brilliantly drawn character, Shakti’s a lively bundle of eccentricities, opinions, and fascinating stories. She offers compelling portraits of post-war London and of the turbulent decolonizing era on the island with its racial politics and outsized hopes." – John C. Ball
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