The Chip-Chip Gatherers

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Shiva Naipaul was the brother of V. S. Naipaul and author of Firefles and The Chip-Chip Gatherers. The Chip-Chip Gatherers, his second novel, was winner of the Whitbread Literary Award in 1973 and is set in Naipaul’s native Trinidad. It includes a new foreword by Amit Chaudhuri. The crowded, ramshackle community of the Settlement in Trinidad is at the mercy of a tyrant. Egbert Ramsaran, the proud owner of the Ramsaran Transport Company, who has become the richest man in town through sheer strength of will, is a capricious, eccentric despot who loves nobody and whom nobody can afford to ignore. There is his son Wilbert, bullied into passivity and failure; Vishnu the downtrodden grocer without grace or hope; the beautiful, unpredictable Sushila, who tries to wield her seductive powers over Ramsaran; and her daughter, Sita, intelligent enough to know that escape is possible. Their intricately woven lives are perfectly captured in all their pathos, comedy and humanity.

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