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All Decent Animals: A Novel

3.14 of 5 stars 3.14  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Oonya Kempadoo's moving third novel, All Decent Animals, looks at the personal and aesthetic choices of a multifaceted cast of characters on the Caribbean island of Trinidad--a country still developing economically but rich culturally, aiming at "world-class" status amid its poor island cousins. It is a novel about relationships, examined through the distinct rhythms of th ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published April 30th 2013)
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I wanted so much to love this book. And there were many good things about it. The writing was occasionally sonorous and beautiful - Kempadoo has a great feel for Trinidad dialect. The inclusion of snatches of soca and calypso lyrics were also a nice touch. The subject matter of AIDS and Carnival are both subjects dear to me as a person and an anthropologist, so I was excited to read a book-length work that was attentive to both.

She paints a portrait of divisions of class in Trinidad society in
Almost a little too Trinidadian.
I enjoyed the effort and the familiar descriptions but it's as though the author tried to fit every dynamic of Trinidadian society into the book- queer culture, race, carnival, HIV, inter-racial romantic relationships, violence against women, class disparities, politics, UN & NGO culture, the disapora. I'm tempted to say it was too ambitious, too overwhelming... but in many ways that's what Trinidad can feel like when you're paying attention.

Melissa Andrews
I wanted to like this book. My husband is from Trinidad and I was so excited to find a book that was based on the island. The dialect was pretty authentic. The descriptions of Carnival and other island customs was great. But I couldn't deal with Ata. It's tough when you don't know whether to root for the heroine, or if she actually is the heroine. I just couldn't connect with her. Fraser got more emotion from me. The sub stories didn't always weave together that well. And the ending - well, I wa ...more
This was a 3.5 star book for me.

• After finishing this book – I am trying to put my thoughts together – at times this book was a page turner, then it also confused me, then I wondered what did the author want me to take away from this book, was I getting all of the nuances/cultural references of the story.
• This is the first book by the author that I finished. I tried reading the author’s first novel Buxton Spice when it first came out and remember the first chapter did not work for me so put th
I enjoyed it. There were truly beautiful passages and intriguing, relatable characters. There were a few moments where the different stories connected very cleverly, but in a natural way, which can be difficult to accomplish. It was by no means fast paced, but that's fitting for a story about island life. It was a well written portrayal of a brief period in a few peoples lives, and I found it to be interesting.
I only got through the first chapter, and knew I wouldn't like this book, so moving on to other things
I have never read a book quite like this. Love the writing.
Wonderful use of literary devices.
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Oonya Kempadoo is a writer who was born in Sussex, England in 1966 of Guyanese parents. She was brought up in Guyana and has since lived in Europe and various islands in the Caribbean.

Her first novel, Buxton Spice, was published to great acclaim in 1998, and was nominated for the 2000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second book, Tide Running (Picador, 2001), set in Plymouth, Tobago,
More about Oonya Kempadoo...
Buxton Spice Tide Running A Árvores dos Sentidos Rotten English: A Literary Anthology

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“When she can’t sleep, she writes. All she remembers is his words. It will soon be dawn, with fire-stoked horses thundering to the humming sky of crickets. I will see you run. And I will run with you. That morning, while Ata ate a dripping mango over the sink, she felt him come up behind her and touch the small of her back, light as a current of air. He kissed the side of her neck, inhaled the steam of bitter cocoa, boiling with bay leaves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and said it reminded him of his childhood. “You are from the islands,” she said. But then he was gone.” 0 likes
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