Neil Bissoondath’s Cartes postales de l’enfer [literal translation: Postcards from Hell] (Éditions Phébus, 2009) is a translation of the Trinidadian-Canadian writer’s sixth novel, The Soul of All Great Designs (Cormoran, 2008). It has been shortlisted for the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe.
Cartes postales de l’enfer presents the “web of lies and false pretenses” of very complex identities. It explores the life of a man who creates an alter-ego, Alec, a gay interior designer, although he is heterosexual. “Impassive, almost cold, the steel facade that has sought to keep intact over time will corrode the day he meets Sumintra, a very pretty girl who navigates between two cultures. Sumintra and Alec have much in common, for example, their double lives, the same taste for secrecy, and the ambiguous relationship they have with their families. The novel explores their need to live parallel lives and their attempts to avoid the collision between fantasy and reality.
Neil Devindra Bissoondath (born on April 19, 1955) is a Trinidadian professor and author of Indian origin, who settled in Canada since 1973. He is the nephew of authors V. S. Naipaul and Shiva Naipaul. He is also the author of On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows (1987), A Casual BrutalityI (1988), The Innocence of Age (1992), The Worlds within Her (1998), Doing the Heart Good (2002), and The Unyielding Clamour of the Night (2005), among other works.
For more on Bissoondath, see http://www.ryerson.ca/library/events/asian_heritage/bissoondath.html