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Cereus Blooms at Night

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Cereus Blooms at Night (1996) is the first novel published by film-maker, artist, and writer Shani Mootoo. The novel recounts the story of an old lady named Mala Ramchandin through the narrative of Tyler, a nurse at Paradise Alms House. Although the setting of the novel (the town of Paradise in the country Lantanacamara) is deliberately left ambiguous, it is thought to be patterned after the island of Trinidad, where Mootoo lived as a child. Cereus and other flora found throughout the novel, the creolized dialect spoken by the inhabitants of Lantanacamara, and the racial composition of its population (white people, Indians, black people) are all suggestive of Caribbean society. Other possibilities would include Guyana, Suriname, and Mauritius, all of which have sizable Indian populations.
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date of publication: 1996

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