The mother of pearls

Ananda Devi’s writing encircles like a black mamba snake. It invades. It strangles. It coils tightly and then lashes out with desire. In Eve out of Her Ruins , language is the story. Set to the backdrop of Troumaron, a terrible, aqueous underworld cut off from the high flying life of tourist Mauritius, Devi dredges up violence and sexuality. The novel contains four teen protagonists, who are surviving the terrors of Troumaron, a low income neighbourhood of Port Louis, by scrounging for meaning in its wretched realm of industrial effluence. The characters are pushed into darker worlds, stunningly wrought by Devi, and into insidious violence, into passionate and consuming love, rage, and towards calamity. The prose harbours this pain. “I don’t understand violence at all: it is there, everywhere.” The protagonists are written in the first person and this allows for direct access to their thoughts and sensations; the intensity is unremitting. The voices are distinctive and wrenching. Eve trades her body to find her body. Saad obsessively loves Eve, and channels this through the poetry of Rimbaud. He is in a gang. Savita cares for Eve. Clelio, also a gang member, is rage, scowling at the system. The […]

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