Monday, October 31

Book Review: Valmiki's Daughter

Title: Valmiki's Daugher

Author: Shani Mootoo

Pages: 395

Summary: In Valmiki's Daughter, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and bestselling novelist Shani Mootoo offers a hugely entertaining and hypnotically beautiful family saga about the corrosive power of secrets and the competing pulls of race, class, and sexuality. The story centers on a wealthy Trinidaian family - in particular, Valmiki, a renowned doctor and loving, if confused, father, and his eldest daughter, Viveka, lively, intelligent, and intent on escaping the gilded cage that protects but also smothers her. With this masterful novel, Mootoo gives us a vibrant, sexy, gorgeous book, full of the vigorous stuff of life.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The plot of the book was very strong, the author did a wonderful job at exploring and showing the struggles of person who is exploring and trying to come to terms with their sexuality. There were also some beautiful descriptions of the island, which brought the culture of Trinidad to life off the pages, but the book in the end fell short for me.

Although the book had a good plot, I found it hard to concentrate on it, as there were a lot of side plots and secondary characters who's stories became too complex, that it took away from the main story line. I think the author would have had a stronger story if some of the side plots and characters were left out, some of them were mentioned, but never concluded and they way they were described and had such an impact on other characters lives, I was hoping for a big revelation. I also found it hard to connect to the characters, the story showed their struggles, but I couldn't get emotionally invested in their struggles.

I did like, for the most part the writing style, especially the descriptions of Trinidad. The book was broken down into parts and each part was introduced by a short description usually a few pages, written in second person, which brought the reader into the smells and noise of Trinidad, the author handled this wonderfully.

Overall it is a good book and good writing, but it just fell short of my expectations.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, especially if you enjoy GLBT literature

What to read next: Cereus Blooms at Night

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge 5, Global Reading Challenge


  1. I haven't had much experience with Trinidadian literature, but it sounds like this might not be the right book to start with. I sort of hate it when a book fails in keeping my interest, and that is a problem that I have been having a lot lately. Thanks for sharing your candid thoughts on this one with us.

  2. Zibilee - This was my second book set there, and it's interesting to read about the culture - this book is a great place to start f you're interested in it. I've been having the same problem, seems like Half the books I'm reading are keeping my interest.

  3. I absolutely loved her Cereus Blooms at Night and have been thinking about re-reading it. But you know how it many books calling to you simultaneously!

  4. Buried in Print - I also really enjoyed Cereus Blooms at Night. If you liked that one, you're sure to enjoy this one.