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The Crack Magazine

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Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein

“Picture that weird and wonderful transition from night to day. Simultaneously slow and sudden. The orphic moment where the early morning resembles the dusk. The way dew-dropped spiderwebs hang undisturbed under the shade of snapdragon pods. The little trenches of compressed grass the red-rumped agoutis leave behind as they scurry.” ‘Hungry Ghosts’ – the new novel from the hot-to-trot Caribbean author Kevin Jared Hosein – is filled with such evocative passages. The story takes us back to central Trinidad circa the 1940s. One of its key locations is a hill overlooking Bell Village. On the hill is the Changoor farm, which houses Dalton and Marlee Changoor, who live in luxury in a colonial pile. One of the men who work on the farm is Hans Saroop. He lives with his wife and son in a ramshackle village, which has been constructed from bits of wood and tin. The village also houses a clutch of families who live on top of each other. When Dalton Changoor goes missing one day, Marlee becomes concerned – not so much for the fate of her husband (it soon transpires they have a history, not all of it good), but because she’s all alone in a huge house. When she suspects she’s being targeted by local ne’er-do-wells, she asks Hans to act as a night watchman. Hosein has conjured up a wholly believable and immersive milieu, which acts as a backdrop to an engrossing and thematically rich tale that touches on everything from class to violence, family roots to religion. It’s a novel absolutely teeming with the sights and sounds of the era, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘Hungry Ghosts’ received multiple nominations when awards season rolls round. RM