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Lakshmi Has Empowered Trinbagonians
Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2004

By Stephen Kangal

May I share with our large cadre of web browsers and surfers some assessment of the public launch of the sociologically-oriented, women-emancipatory novel, "Raise The Lanterns High" authored by T&T novelist, Dr. Lakshmi Seeterram- Persaud. This launch was held at the UWI Campus on Thursday 2 December under the kind and distinguished patronage of the President of the Senate, Senator The Hon Dr. Linda Baboolal.

I warmly congratulate the Seeterram Book Centre of Tunapuna for arranging a most impressive function that was well attended in spite of the adverse weather conditions. The Centre transformed an ordinary literary event into a most engaging and inspirational exercise with an erudite performance rendered by the Chairman, Mr. Shastri Maharaj, nephew of the author.

The traditional book review provided by UWI Principal, Dr Bhoe Tewarie, was clinically accurate, skillfully and analytically instructive and surgically focussed on unraveling the method, the rich -encrusted symbolism and inter-woven, embroidered and concealed morals and messages that underpinned the plot. Dr. Tewarie's intellectual expose of the several layers of the narrative can generate a tidal wave of interest in the book. It was suggested that Dr. Persaud's emerging literary style was fast encroaching on and challenging the Naipaulian genre. This is a boon to the international literary acclaim of Trinbago.

The reading of excerpts from her novel rendered by the former Tunapuna novelist spontaneously caused ripples of literary seduction among the appreciative and knowledgeable audience. Never before have I ever heard a novelist in reading her own work elevated it to such a high poetic plane of communicative elegance, of form and function and rhyme and reason. She virtually had us eating from the palm of her hands.

Dr. Persaud should make audio-cassette recordings of some excerpts because her voice is so engaging and hypnotic that it endows the printed word with a soul, life and voltage of its own. Recordings will enhance readers' appreciation of her superb work.

It was the sheer magic of audio performance of parts of the novel as well as the author's reputation for the mastery of a style of elegant simplicity as demonstrated in her previous three novels that caused the guests to take up all the copies available for sale at the launch that Lakshmi kindly autographed.

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