|COPYRIGHT © 2006-2021 rosalienebacchus.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED ON: 22 JANUARY 2021
WEB SITE DESIGNED WITH YAHOO! SITEBUILDER BY ROSALIENE BACCHUS
UNDER THE TAMARIND TREE: A NOVEL
drawn; they not only reveal Cheong’s humanity, but they also draw the reader into the world of the novel. In
addition, Bacchus’s use of dialect gives the reader a sense of the rhythm and cadence of Guyanese Creole but
neither patronizes the characters nor frustrates the reader. Indeed, the use of dialect endears the characters
to me. It enhances my understanding that these characters reflect real people who take what is available to
them and create a gorgeous tapestry. Bacchus paints a society that is a riot of color and a melding of
cultures. The Christmas party on pages 31-36 is a good example of this. The party guests enjoy meatballs
with sourie sauce, channa, Portuguese cake, chow mein, and roast pork while listening to Eddie Fisher sing
Christmas carols. The guest list also reflects Guyana’s rich and layered culture. The people claim Chinese,
Asian Indian, African, Portuguese, and even Scottish descent. As the tension in this book illustrates, imperial
powers stole Guyana’s resources through centuries of oppression and exploitation, but Under the Tamarind
Tree also teaches us that Guyana’s abiding treasure is its multiculturalism. This book is not just Richard
Cheong’s story. It is an elegy for Guyana. My only complaint about this book is that Mildred is not as well
sketched as she might have been. In the final scene where she reveals many ugly truths, she comes off as a
harpy. We do understand that her adult life was informed by the trauma she endured; nevertheless, her
unyielding hatred for Richard reveals a pathology we need to know more about.
~ JUDGE, ANNUAL WRITER'S DIGEST SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK AWARDS 2020.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
February 15, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
“Under The Tamarind Tree” by Rosaliene Bacchus. Published by Lulu 2019 is sweeping grand drama about
Richard Cheong’s life set against the troubled history of Guyana gaining its freedom from Great Britain. We
are quickly drawn into Richard’s life in 1950 with the birth of his first child. He is the good father, fighting
against the times and convoluted half hidden histories of an extended family and the sad efforts of his parents
and siblings to even act like decent human beings. He survives and takes care of those he loves without help
from anyone, including a wife he loves and loses and distant sisters who have no patience for him. His trials
are a reflection of the world around him in the emerging nation, with all of its political and racial violence and
plots and demons racing the streets to destroy them. He will succeed and survive in the end because that is
all he knows, even though he is also driven by demons of his own.
We are given the wonderfully exotic world of Guyana and its cultural diversity and incredible mix of ethnicity
and religion. And it is alive and teems about the reader like a maelstrom of a fantastic world. This book is a
joy to read and it will make you cry, so beware. I guarantee you won’t want to put it down.
~ DAN McNAY, AMERICAN AUTHOR OF FOUR NOVELS. DAN LIVES IN LOS ANGELES, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and beautifully written
September 22, 2019
I don't know Rosaliene Bacchus but I have read her blog, which led me to order a copy of the novel. I wasn't
sure what to expect. Just because someone manages to produce an interesting blog is no guarantee that they
can write a convincing and entertaining novel. The fact that it is self-published, I thought, was perhaps not a
good sign. In other words, I was prepared not to like it, and if that had been the case, I wouldn't be bothering
to comment here.
However, the fact is, I think this is one of the most interesting books I have read in years. I cannot
understand why it didn't find a publisher. It is well-written throughout, and there is not a word out of place. It
has a very spare style and much of the story is told through natural and convincing dialogue.
At first, I thought it was going to be the history of a marriage and its collapse. There is that strand in the
story, but it also takes us through the modern history of Guyana and the ethnic conflicts which divided the
different groups there - black descendants of slaves, East Indian descendants of indentured workers, and
other groups like the Portuguese and the Chinese. I knew absolutely nothing about this history of race riots
and murders. In many ways, it reminded me of the recent history of my own country, especially when the
police colluded with the rioters, watching and refusing to intervene while the most appalling atrocities were
I liked the central character, who is linked by family and friendship to many of the warring ethnic factions. It
is powerfully written and many of the images and characters will stay fresh in my memory for a long time.
Without giving too much away, there is also a mystery at the heart of the story which I am glad to say is
resolved in the end.
Anyway, I read it on Kindle but I'm going to buy a paper copy. Don't let the self-publishing fool you into
thinking that there is anything amateurish about this novel. It is very well-written and well worth reading.
~ SEÁN, UNITED KINGDOM, AMAZON REVIEW
Return to Main Page
An achingly beautiful book
November 4, 2020
This is an achingly beautiful book. Under the Tamarind Tree is written with the care
and control of a master craftsman. Human nature is revealed to us in all its nobility
and frailty. My heart breaks for Richard Cheong. He is an ordinary man trying to live in
extraordinary times. His burdens are great, and they reach back and forward through
the generations. Bacchus conveys the weight Cheong shoulders brilliantly. From the
very beginning, we see Richard Cheong’s humanity. His aspirations, his deep love for
his wife and family, his work ethic, and his respect for tradition are crystalized in the
breakfast scene on pages 3-5. These descriptions of home life are vivid and lovingly