Night Calypso by Lawrence Scott

Night Calypso

Lawrence Scott

Every now and again, a book comes along that catches you out. You think you know where it's leading to, but when you get there, you are still taken aback. A calypso is a West Indian folk song which is made up as the singer goes along. In this story set within a leprosarium on a Caribbean island, the calypso is that of a troubled orphan boy, who has been placed in the care of the island's doctor. I emerged from this book feeling as though I had woken from a bad dream: shaken, sweating and exhausted. This story will stay with me for a long time.

Extract

Vincent listened to the boy telling this astonishing tale, as he unfolded the history of his grandmother, as told by his great-grandmother. The story possessed him, so that he told it as he had heard it, rendering the tones of the voices which possessed him. It was as if he had a fever. Vincent let him tell the story. No matter how painful, he had to listen to the boy he cared for. It frightened him how much he cared.

Parallels
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • The Famished Road by Ben Okri
  • Little by David Treuer