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Genie and Paul

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  61 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Genie and Paul is an utterly original love story: the story of a sister’s love for a lost brother, and the story of his love for an island that has never really existed. One morning in May 2003, on the cyclone-ravaged island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean, the body of a man washes up on the beach. Six weeks previously, the night Tropical Cyclone Kalunde first gathered fo ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by Myriad Editions
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(showing 1-30 of 138)
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Rebecca Foster
A vibrant postcolonial response to Paul et Virginie (1788), the classic novel by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. Soobramanien takes up Saint-Pierre’s themes of wildness and loss of Edenic innocence in her contemporary story of Genie Lallan and her half-brother Paul, who, with their mother, left Mauritius for London 21 years ago. Like Paul et Virginie, Genie and Paul opens at a ruined hut on a tropical beach in the aftermath of a destructive cyclone, and meanders backward in time to disc ...more
Joanne
Sep 30, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it
This is an unusual and unique first novel, about love, that of a sister for her (half) brother, and of her brother's love for his homeland of Mauritius. The story begins on the night that Tropical Cyclone Kalunde battered the islands in the Indian Ocean, and when Genie woke up in hospital in London, having lost a night of her life, and her brother.

The story is told in three sections: Genie's story, her search for her beloved brother; Paul's story, his search for somewhere he finally feels at hom
...more
Lorraine RushHourReads
Jan 09, 2013 Lorraine RushHourReads rated it really liked it
If I had to liken this novel to anything it would be a snowball in motion. The story starts rolling on a seemingly gentle slope with two episodes; in the aftermath of a cyclone a young boy's new friend washes up on a distant shore. Six weeks prior, Genie awakes in a London hospital, abandoned by her brother. Natasha Soobramanien then slowly increases the incline as the tale of the titular siblings unfurls to its dramatic conclusion.

This is a unique book, something that made me love it all the mo
...more
Rebecca Rouillard
Mar 20, 2013 Rebecca Rouillard rated it really liked it
'Genie and Paul' is a contemporary interpretation of the 18th century classic French tale of 'Paul et Virginie', set in London, the island of Mauritius and a sister island - Rodrigues.

Genie wakes up in hospital in London to find that her brother Paul has gone missing. She retraces his steps to find out where he has gone, and the narrative retraces his life through the accounts of the other characters implicated in his story, to find out why he might have run away. It is beautifully written and w
...more
Nickhyl Dawoor
Mar 18, 2014 Nickhyl Dawoor rated it liked it
An important book on diaspora, language and the country left behind. Natasha has the power of description, bringing to life the Mauritian landscape in the exact same terms of her personal observations. This book bears no mimicry of Ananda Devi's Mauritius, and in lying juxtaposition,exposes the latter as fraud. Devi's Mauritius, it seems to me, is a spin-off product of too much pessimism, too much Manichaeism, and less reality. Natasha finds a happy medium, in which glee and pathos are allowed t ...more
Caroline
Apr 16, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it
This is a book that shows the darkest, bleakest side of Mauritius - far from the blue beaches and golden sea that occupy the tourist imagination.
It is well-written and the story is sadly credible.
I can't say I enjoyed it though because the story is bleak, and sad. This is not a reflection on the story or the writing but on the characters and their lives.
Gerald Sinstadt
Oct 09, 2012 Gerald Sinstadt rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
If a book proves not to be the book one hoped it would be, then any disappointment may lie not with the author but with the reader. That is the case with Genie and Paul, which I had hoped would be a retelling of a much-loved Mauritian tale. It is true that is what the author offers but this brother and sister transplanted from Mauritius to London in the 1980's and '90's find themselves in an environment of squats and drugs that failed to engage this reader.

That admitted, it is only fair to say t
...more
Paul
Aug 21, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
I thought the two chapters that Soobramanien wrote in Luke Williams's Echo Chamber were the best part of that book, demonstrating an ability to write authentically from a place deep within her characters. That ability is the strongest element of this book too, she inhabits the lives of the title characters, a half brother and sister whose troubled and tragic life the book retells. Ultimately the story is not as interesting or compelling as the writing, but the book is certainly a promising debut ...more
carelessdestiny
Oct 20, 2012 carelessdestiny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: toney-novels
This was a wonderful surprise.The plot line is written in a matter of fact and realistic way yet it has all the lushness and romanticism of a nineteenth century novel. It's set in contemporary London and Mauritius which gives both places a kind of dark glamor that's appealing and slightly scary. It also contains "sub stories" within the main body of the novel, some of which are almost sketches for future novels. Very accomplished and beautifully done.
Hazel Compton
A very compelling read; There are a lot of thought-provoking issues and brilliant foreshadowed moments that I found played on my mind long after I finished the novel.
Niamh
Apr 12, 2013 Niamh rated it really liked it
A charming novel about family, love, exile and searching for truth.
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