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?