“A stellar debut . . . about an unconventional family, fear, hatred, violence, chasing love, losing it and finding it again just when we need it most.”—The New York Times Book Review
WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK AWARD • “A wonder . . . [This book] teems with real, Trinidadian life.”—Claire Adam, award-winning author of Golden Child
SEMI-FINALIST FOR THE OCM BOCAS PRIZE • One of the Best Books of the Summer: Time • The Guardian • Goop • Women’s Day • LitHub
After Betty Ramdin’s husband dies, she invites a colleague, Mr. Chetan, to move in with her and her son, Solo. Over time, the three become a family, loving each other deeply and depending upon one another. Then, one fateful night, Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr. Chetan and learns a secret that plunges him into torment.
Solo flees Trinidad for New York to carve out a lonely existence as an undocumented immigrant, and Mr. Chetan remains the singular thread holding mother and son together. But soon, Mr. Chetan’s own burdensome secret is revealed, with heartbreaking consequences. Love After Love interrogates love and family in all its myriad meanings and forms, asking how we might exchange an illusory love for one that is truly fulfilling.
In vibrant, addictive Trinidadian prose, Love After Love questions who and how we love, the obligations of family, and the consequences of choices made in desperation.
Persaud's auspicious debut traces the gut-wrenching lives of a makeshift Trinidadian family over the past two decades. After Betty Ramdin's abusive, alcoholic husband, Sunil, dies, Betty invites a reserved math teacher, Mr. Chetan, to rent a room in her house. Chetan, who knows Betty as an administrator at his school, accepts the offer and forms a bond with Betty's five-year-old son, Solo. The three quickly form a de facto family, and Chetan shines in the kitchen ("She hand nowhere near sweet like mine," he says). Cracks emerge later, as Betty's attempt to initiate sex with Chetan falters when he reveals he is gay, and Solo, now a teenager, overhears Betty confess to Chetan that she caused Sunil's death by pushing him down a set of stairs. After Solo graduates high school, he illegally immigrates to New York City and cuts off all contact with his mother. Though Solo's uncle helps him find work, he isolates himself socially and descends into self-harm. Meanwhile, Chetan, who came of age when sodomy was illegal in Trinidad, navigates clandestine relationships with a controlling police officer and an old flame, now married. After Solo hears tragic news from Trinidad, he returns for a bittersweet reunion. In chapters alternately narrated by Solo, Betty, and Chetan in vibrant Trinidadian dialect, Persaud expertly maps the trio's emotional development and builds a complicated yet seamless plot full of indelible insights and poignant moments. This affecting family saga shines brightly.