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Neil Bissoondath Biography

(1955– ), Digging Up the Mountains, A Casual Brutality, On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows

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Trinidadian novelist and short-story writer, born in Arima, Trinidad, the nephew of V. S. Naipaul; in 1973 he emigrated to Canada, and was educated at York University, Toronto. The bleakly compassionate treatments of the lives of immigrants to Canada in Digging Up the Mountains (1985), his first collection of stories, initiated the concern with exile and cultural displacement which pervades his work. A Casual Brutality (1988), his first novel, deals with the tragic consequences of a doctor's return to his native Caribbean, where violent political upheaval dispossesses him of any sense of belonging. A further collection of stories, On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows (1990), recurrently portrays the vulnerability to exploitation and injustice which immigrants from different cultural backgrounds have in common in Canadian cities. The Innocence of Age (1992), Bissoondath's second novel, has a white Canadian as its chief protagonist, whose alienation from an increasingly materialistic and violent Toronto forms the basis of his identification with members of the immigrant population.

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