Shani Mootoo | Granta

Shani Mootoo

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad before moving to Canada at the age of nineteen. A film-maker and visual artist, she has written and directed several videos, and her paintings and photo-based works have been exhibited internationally. Her first novel, Cereus Blooms at Night, was published in 1996. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, Out on Main Street, and three other novels. She lives in Toronto.


Cereus Blooms At Night

Shani Mootoo

In Cereus Blooms by Night Shani Mootoo leads us gently into the heart and mind of old Mala Ramchandin as, lying mad in a hospital bed tended by gay male nurse Tyler, she recounts her tragic history via a stream of demented ramblings.

As the story of her descent into madness unfolds and the bond between the crazy woman and the gay man develops and strengthens, so too does the desire of the reader to understand the sights, sounds, smells and emotions that fashioned the young Mala’s destiny. Through the magic of Mootoo’s prose and the richness of her dialogue we are transported to the small Caribbean town of Paradise at the moment a scandal that has been evolving for a lifetime is uncovered.

Cereus Blooms by Night is a stunning first novel from an author with an enviable talent for luscious writing that makes the reader see, feel and believe in the lives of the people and places she describes.