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The Unyielding Clamour of the Night

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  44 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
"Arun, a young man set to inherit his family's lucrative printing business, leaves his home in the prosperous north of his Southeast Asian island nation to teach in the devastated south, where a civil war between the military and rebel insurgents profoundly affects daily life. Idealistic and driven by a need to give meaning to his life, Arun relinquishes the trappings of w ...more
Hardcover, 347 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Cormorant Books (first published 2005)
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Mary Soderstrom
Neil Bissoondath says that he couldn't get started on the book that would become his prize-winning The Unyielding Clamour of the Night until he drove down to the waterfront park on the St. Lawrence river in Quebec City, cleared the snow from a picnic table and began writing.

In interview in Quill and Quire, Bissoondath--born in Trinidad, nephew of Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul, and a professor of création littéreaire at l'Université de Laval--explained " this thing just flowed out of me. It went o
...more
Graham Botha
Nov 11, 2012 Graham Botha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the wealthy and powerful
Bissondath captures the rhythmic, hypnotic yet elegant beauty of the East Indian English usage. There is a poignancy in his language that draws the reader into tragedy and drama long before there is any. Hearing the words in your head as one reads, the reader can visualize the rhythmic swaying and dipping of the head, characteristic of the Indian, thus placing the reader in the novel with the main character who instantly becomes important, mysterious in a mundane way, and this compels the reader ...more
Mary Soderstrom
Aug 18, 2012 Mary Soderstrom rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite novels by a Canadian writer is Neil Bissonndath's The Unyielding Clamour of the Night, an imagined story of terrorism and dedication in a country not unlike Sri Lanka.

The title always seemed to me unfelicitous, however, until I began thinking about how Bissonndath wrote the book. A native of Trinidad, he knows first hand tropical climates, although he's lived in Quebec for decades. He says he began writing the book sitting in a park on a snowy winter day. Seemed terribly inc
...more
Eric
May 02, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oddly, a better book about what sure seems like Sri Lanka than Michael Ondaatje, a better writer and native, was able to manage. The title is a bit over the top. Then again you have the incessant "insect convocation" that gives the novel its name, the night time bombings, killings and terror activity and ensuing scream that "echo forever." (That last perhaps a reference to the death at the center of Mann's Dr. Faustus.) So I cut NB some slack. Then there are the wise observations about terror: s ...more
Shane
Feb 22, 2009 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in a fictitious island, this setting could have been my native Sri Lanka, except that the rebels in the book were in the south not the north of the country. After awhile, I got the message that this book was an excercise in the making of a terrorist, and any country with the right inputs of trauma and loss is fertile ground to grow such individuals. The central character is well drawn from his Hamlet-like entry to the firm choice he makes in the end.
Catherine Letendre
Extrait du livre. Vision sur l'Arche de Noé.
"La plupart des gens y voient un récit de survie. Ce qui m'a frappé, moi, c'est que Dieu a massacré des millions d'humains, jeunes et vieux, innocents et corrompus, le pire génocide de tous les temps, et qu'on a continué à l'aimer. Voilà l'astuce. Faire en sorte que les gens sourient et hochent la tête d'un air approbateur pendant que vous leur coupez la gorge."
Sonja
Oct 19, 2010 Sonja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own
A story about a young man who leaves home to teach school on the southern part of his island. A good glimpse into a place where allegiances are tested daily by the civil war being fought around the town. Arun leaves home to get away from the accident that killed his parents and is forced to come face to face with it in ways he never imagined.
Mary
Sep 01, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-fiction
Set in a country (like Sri Lanka) the novel is about life in the South (guerrilla territory) for a new schoolteacher from the ruling class. Insightful for its sense of place and times, it has twists that keep you reading to the end. A favorite for the winter of 2006
Amy L. Campbell
May 29, 2013 Amy L. Campbell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is one of those, "things only sort of happen, it's more about the journey" books. The ending is very strong though and allows for some good reflection.
Sara
Aug 18, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite title by Bissoondath.
Brian
Sep 10, 2010 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suprisingly good writing.
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Neil Devindra Bissoondath, novelist, short-story writer, essayist (b at Arima, Trinidad and Tobago 19 Apr 1955). He attended St Mary's College in Port of Spain before emigrating to Canada in 1973, when he became a student at York University (BA 1977). After graduating, he began teaching English as a second language and French in Toronto. Bissoondath began writing short stories in the late seventie ...more
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