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Night Calypso

by Lawrence Scott

Every now and again, a book comes along that catches you out. You think you know where it's leading to, but when you get there, you are still taken aback. A calypso is a West Indian folk song which is made up as the singer goes along. In this story set within a leprosarium on a Caribbean island, the calypso is that of a troubled orphan boy, who has been placed in the care of the island's doctor. I emerged from this book feeling as though I had woken from a bad dream: shaken, sweating and exhausted. This story will stay with me for a long time.

Extract

Vincent listened to the boy telling this astonishing tale, as he unfolded the history of his grandmother, as told by his great-grandmother. The story possessed him, so that he told it as he had heard it, rendering the tones of the voices which possessed him. It was as if he had a fever. Vincent let him tell the story. No matter how painful, he had to listen to the boy he cared for. It frightened him how much he cared.

Parallels

The Famished Road by Ben Okri
 

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