Troubador The Cursed Village

Released: 28/10/2020

ISBN: 9781838595234

eISBN: 9781838596279

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Cursed Village


Usati is a four year old growing up in Sunnyvale, a small, poor and remote sugar cane farming village in Trinidad in the 1940’s. He describes the world he sees, and captures the language and culture of the mainly illiterate peasant workers who live around him. There is widespread belief in black magic, and nearby is the infamous silk-cotton tree which houses the evil spirits who are responsible for all the ills of the village. Usati looks after his two younger siblings. Even as a four year old he has to be a human shield for the neighbour on several occasions in the face of domestic violence. Life is hard and brutal with constant fear of violence and beatings.  

Following his mother’s death the children are brought up by their grandparents, but there are further constant upheavals within the family. Violence remains within all parts of this society, as is crime and suffering. Usati observes how his family suffers through their illiteracy and the society within which they live. 

Usati battles for a good education. He vows to bring literacy to the village and to fight against the cruelty that surrounds him. Usati and B started as teenage lovers, but can their love survive and endure a lifetime from the wicked curse and traumas of the intervening years?

In a village society in the 1940s dominated by agriculture and the need for
all hands to share in this labour intensive process to provide food for the
family, the education of children above a minimum is considered a waste of time.
Here is a boy who made up his mind to become a teacher.
He is living with his grandparents who'd rather have him work in the fields and
even try to prevent him from attending school. To be beaten up, often for no
appearent reason, is common. It is a struggle, but he manages.
Even later in college, for some teachers, violence is their way.
A platonic love story develops between the boy and a girl. It does take an
unexpected turn.
His own experience taught him how demotivating violence towards children is.
When, as a teacher, he is assigned to his old college, he introduces teaching
methods based on motivation. There must be no more violence towards children.

The author shows how much influence a determined individual can have in shaping society.

by Rolf Skowronek

The Cursed Village has been an enlightening and entertaining novel. Set in the 1940’s in rural Trinidad, the author has cleverly drawn attention to many social ills experienced in village life which he attempts to remedy. His use of local dialect in his dialogues, as well as the mention of superstitions and practice of black magic has added an interesting element to the story. Samaroo’s focus on the critical importance of education to drag individuals out of the depths of poverty is much appreciated. As this narrative provides a fascinating glimpse into the daily routine and hardships of rural life, I expect it will resonate especially well with Trinidadians who can relate to the experiences highlighted by the author. Overall, this book is an excellent read, and I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a mix of romance, intrigue, and tragedy.

by Kavita Rameshwar Singh

I have read this book and it interesting . It keep my interest and I could not put it down. It was a booked that related to my life a great deal. I have learn a lot from it . It has educated me in life how we can overcome a lot of difficulty and still servile it if we have a motive behind it. He is a great writer and a heart warming . It give a lot of motive and encourage us to look to achieve great thing in life . We have to put our mind toward an goal at the end of it . To the writer I applause him for the courage and determination. He is very ambitious.

by Parbatie Krishnasamy

A very interesting novel depicting the culture, customs as well as dialect that existed during the 1940's in Trinidad.
The author provides a clear cut comparison of struggles experienced by children during this era to those of present day. Readers are able to join in with the main character as he focuses on the importance of education and how he strives to achieve higher learning in order to leave behind the everyday difficulties of rural life.
I highly recommend this book to those interested in a mixture of history, romance and intrigue.

by Harriram Ramdin

This book hit me hard. The Cursed Village is a book about Usati and when we first meet him he is but a child, and he explains the life he lives as a very poor child on a sugarcane farm. Throughout the book we stick with Usati as he grows older and experiences the death of his mother. He is sent with his siblings to his grandparents house where he is raised.

The Cursed Village is a coming of age story as much as it is a story of fighting for a better life. Usati wants a good education above all else, but he's fighting against prejudice and illiteracy while also battling himself and learning how to deal with his trauma.

This wasn't a happy story through most of this book, and though I felt like there were several unresolved elements at the end of the book, I felt hopeful. And I guess that's generally the way life is anyway, we all always have one thing or another unresolved.

by NetGalley review

Big props to the artist of the book cover, it is timelessly beautiful and something every reader would love to show off on their shelves.

This book was definitely unlike anything I have ever read before, I thoroughly enjoyed every page and despite finding it hard at times, i flew through it.

by NetGalley review

There was much of this book that I enjoyed. The setting was Trinidad in the 1940's and 1950's and it was interesting to hear some of the traditions and practises of the time. The novel tells the story of a young boy Usati who recounts the story of growing up in a small village.
At times I wondered is this book autobiographical and how does this relate to real life? At times it was a difficult read, with violence against children and women. I did however have to read it to the end and see how things worked out. The book covers many different life events and raises a lot of points to discuss. I could imagine this would be a good book to share in a book group.

by NetGalley review

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