Genie and Paul by Natasha Soobramanien

Genie and Paul

Natasha Soobramanien

Paul and Genie have a close but troubled relationship, stemming from their emigration as children to London from Mauritius and Rodrigues. Rich in evocative, sensual descriptions and multi-layered stories; the love, hate, jealousy, worry, and responsibility the siblings feel for each other make this an emotional, compelling and memorable debut.

Extract

Rodrigues was the sister island of Mauritius and Paul, she thought, was her brother island, remote and totally isolated but somehow connected and, as Rodrigues was to Mauritius, a dependency. She realised now that she had thought this all her life: she was supposedly the baby sister, the younger one, the less clever one even. But she knew, and Paul did too, that she was the stronger one. Was this because she was younger? Paul had been alone for the first five years of his life. Her arrival must have changed his world. Genie had never known such a disruption, would never know the solitude he’d experienced before she was born. And then Genie realised – and the thought made her gasp almost – that for her it would be the opposite. She would know it if Paul were to die before her.

Parallels
  • Paul et Virginie by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
  • Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
  • The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah