A Perfect Pledge

                          A Perfect Pledge, US 1st Ed.

A Globe and Mail Best Book 
A Toronto Star Best Book
Finalist, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Finalist, Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Caribbean & Canada Region)

(NOVEL) Trade paperback, Vintage Canada (July 2006) ISBN-10: 0676976484, ISBN-13: 978-0676976489. *To purchase, click A Perfect Pledge;
Hardcover, Knopf Canada ISBN-10: 0676976476, ISBN-13: 978-0676976472; and in the US, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (July 2005) *To purchase, click A Perfect Pledge
Trade paperback, in translation, Mouria Press, Netherlands (2005)
Also available as an eBook, Vintage Canada (April 2010)  ISBN: 978-0-307-36997-0 (0-307-36997-8) *To purchase, click eBook link.
 

About the book . . .

From the publisher: “A Perfect Pledge is at once a beautifully detailed novel about family life, a lively and abundant portrait of Trinidadian society, and an ambitious universal story of striving and strife. [It] begins in the village of Lengua in the late 1950s, with the birth of a son, Jeeves, to Dulari and her husband Narpat, an irascible cane farmer who has long wished to add a son to his family of three daughters. But growing up in his father’s shadow, Jeeves develops into a scrawny, quiet, somewhat sickly boy not helped by Narpat’s insistence that he eat properly purgative foods.”

Praise for A Perfect Pledge . . .

“The only truly serious and successful Canadian novel I have read so far this year is set entirely on the island of Trinidad and has not a single Canadian character . . . For the record, [Maharaj] is a more accomplished writer than Vassanji and a livelier novelist than Mistry.”
Philip Marchand, Toronto Star

A Perfect Pledge . . . will establish [Maharaj] as a major Canadian writer and literary figure of international stature . . . A Perfect Pledge shares the comically neutral tone of Naipaul’s earlier novels, except that Maharaj’s humour is broader, the characters more hilarious in their physical and linguistic excesses. Also, unlike Naipaul, Maharaj’s mirth belies an implacable tenderness, an empathy and acceptance of human nature—a respectfulness that precludes scorn . . . Maharaj manages to draw the reader very close to Narpat’s family. We come to see them—with all their strife and occasional violence—as oddly loving and loyal . . . But this is just one of numerous sleights of hand Maharaj employs. In the end, we can’t remember the precise moment we stopped rolling our eyes and began wiping them.”
The Globe and Mail

“A poignant, studiously unsentimental portrait of a man too big for his community, and of the enduring bonds between father and son . . . What the book is, really, is pure Maharaj. When a major writer emerges, the time for comparisons ends, and the time to celebrate the arrival of a distinctive, fully formed voice and sensibility begins. So, begin.”
National Post

“[Maharaj has created a colourful universe of characters, and the writing is witty and sharp. Much like the Island of Trinidad, A Perfect Pledge is a polyglot of different styles. Part comedy, part tragedy, the book is Dickensian in scope, creates a detailed world of characters à la V.S. Naipaul and evokes the allegorical qualities of Chinua Achebe or even John Steinbeck. But it is those echoes of Don Quixote that linger the most. At the personal or political level, it would appear that vowing to fight the windmills of change can be a dangerous pledge to make.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“A sprawling, colorful epic . . . This novel’s allure comes from its comic energy and its plucky, determined characters—especially the farmer’s son, who struggles between his sense of filial duty and his desire for independence. In the end, the book is like a music box: it’s charming and you have to admire its elaborate craftsmanship.”
The New York Times Book Review

“For a decade, Trinidadian-born author Rabindranath Maharaj has been treating readers to stories that remind us how colourful and cruel life can be . . . A Perfect Pledge is a masterpiece of real-life misery, the kind that touches you and lingers for a long, long while.”
The Vancouver Sun

A Perfect Pledge delivers a beautifully written and beautifully sad tale.”
Calgary Herald

“Among the many things to admire about A Perfect Pledge is the author’s confidence . . . Imagine Don Quixote staying home in Trinidad, and you’ve got something like the wandering, witty, ultimately devastating story that Rabindranath Maharaj tells in A Perfect Pledge . . . This is a charming story . . . it’s unstoppable . . . [with] a heartrending conclusion, tenderly, beautifully told . . . I’d advise keeping an eye out for more from Maharaj.”
The Washington Post Book World

“What a delicious feeling it is to read the first pages of a 400-page book and know you are in the hands of an accomplished storyteller . . . It is impossible not to compare Rabindranath Maharaj with Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul . . . This eminently satisfying novel has the clarity of Naipaul and some of the bite, and a great deal that is Maharaj’s own.”
The Seattle Times

“The novel’s panoramic depiction of a crumbling traditional society is a richly satisfying dish, with the charm of the exotic for readers who come from anywhere else . . . masterfully told.”
The Boston Globe

A Perfect Pledge confirms Rabindranath Maharaj, its Trinidadian-Canadian author, as a major post colonial writer and potentially a worthy successor to V.S. Naipaul. Strongly reminiscent of Naipaul’s A House of Mr. Biswas, the novel is overtly and perhaps deliberately derivative, but it treats its East Indian subjects with a kindness and sensitivity lacking in Naipaul’s distinctively acerbic work. Maharaj highlights the humanity of his characters, who inhabit an often perverse, cruel and mercurial world in which the odds appear to be always against them but in which ‘a perfect pledge,’ a pledge which prevents humans from giving up, inspires them to keep working toward their goals.”
Canadian Literature

“For some time now—and especially with the release of A Perfect Pledge—literary critics have had a penchant for comparing Trinidadian author Rabindranath Maharaj to Trinidadian Nobel laureate VS Naipaul. Well, Naipaul he is not. With all due respect to international critics who stake such a claim, I beg to differ. Such a comparison is an insult to Maharaj. That is not to say that we should not be impressed that people are seeing Naipaul in Maharaj. After all, they’re both Trini writers with East Indian roots, and they both are masters of characterisation. Still, Maharaj has worked painstakingly hard to establish his own voice as a writer…[he] is a literary magician who conjures up credible conflicts for characters.”
Trinidad Guardian

“This is a brilliant book, the elegant narrative tone is enriched by the astonishing improvisations of a Trinidadian English infused with Indian, British, and American influences. It is perfectly written, plotted and performed.”
North Star

“[A Perfect Pledge] is one of the most amusing and original books to be published in Canada in years, sure to afford great pleasure to a host of readers and to send most in search of Maharaj’s earlier work.”
London Free Press

“Wildly entertaining, sweetly poignant and deftly structured, A Perfect Pledge is a story that will linger in the reader’s mind and engender craving for Maharaj’s next work.”
Curled Up With A Good Book

“There is humor and there is writerly skill aplenty . . . The real accomplishment of A Perfect Pledge is the way it allows us to sample a world otherwise remote.”
Christian Science Monitor

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