Reading Guyana: The Ventriloquist’s Tale


I don’t check out reviews before I read a book, but am always curious afterwards if other people had a similar experience as I did. With this novel, that’s a confident Yes; everybody landed on that same word that kept flashing up for me.

A bit of magical realism, jungle and savannah and rivers and a city carrying as much weight as any major character, the past and the present, far-away and home and who we are when we are in those places, a trickster God as the narrator (or is he?), …so many elements that could have gone wrong, but didn’t. The Ventriloquist’s Tale is my first time meeting the work of the author, Pauline Melville, but it won’t be my last. She alone is fascinating, and her work is masterful.

Rupununi Savannah
Rupununi Savannah (image by Treez44est, via Wikimedia Commons)