The Lagahoo’s Apprentice


Named a notable book of the year by both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

(NOVEL) Trade paperback, Vintage Canada (April 2001) ISBN-10: 0676973701, ISBN-13: 978-0676973709. *To purchase, click The Lagahoo’s Apprentice
Hardcover, Knopf Canada (April 2000) ISBN-10: 0676972470, ISBN-13: 978-0676972474. *To purchase, click The Lagahoo’s Apprentice
Trade paperback, in translation, Turkey İşbank Culture Publications (Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları), Turkey (2001) Now available as an eBook from Vintage Canada (January 2011) ISBN: 978-0-307-36366-4 (0-307-36366-X). *To purchase, click the eBook link.

About the book . . .

From the publisher: “Trapped in a loveless marriage, Stephen Sagar returns eagerly to his native Trinidad when he is commissioned by a powerful island politician to write his biography. Expecting to discover a lost innocence, Stephen is at once disillusioned – old friends are no longer recognizable and strangers view him with indifference or hostility. To piece together his own past, he explores the lush island landscape and encounters a woman who once loved him. In her need to love again, his own longing begins to awaken and intensify.”

Praise for The Lagahoo’s Apprentice . . .

“Fascinating, satisfying . . .  The Lagahoo’s Apprentice is dense and rich, and the apprentice of the title [is] one of the most fully realized characters I’ve come across in fiction . . . This is a very, very fine novel, wonderful reading for the women (and men) who’ve known a few lagahoos in their time.”
Elizabeth Nickson, The Globe and Mail

“A satisfying delight . . .  it has a vivid sense of place, hilarious satire, Gothic mystery, [and] moments of wrenching poignancy . . . Maharaj triumphs . . .”
The Toronto Star

“Maharaj’s innumerable fresh and funny observations . . . define his style . . . Sympathetic, canny, and very entertaining.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“In The Lagahoo’s Apprentice, Maharaj dares to paint a passionately honest portrait of the dark side of his sunny island home.”
The Vancouver Sun

“Observations are magnificently captured and enhance the mood of secrecy and gloom . . . Maharaj is a delicate craftsman with a compelling style . . . The Lagahoo’s Apprentice is an accomplished novel.”
National Post

“An ambitious work . . . There is depth and breadth in his writing, as well as the humour which marked [his] first two books.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Robin Maharaj compares very favorably to the older and more established Canadian writer of Caribbean origin, Austin Clarke.  Both sing of remembered island paradises of poverty and passion, of lost parents, of exotic childhoods as sources of adult wisdom, of cultural dissonance which has at its roots personal disease. Both are masters of the English language they love to play with. At the same time, they incorporate motifs and symbols indigenous to their settings and their transplanted cultures, tying worlds together and expanding meaning beyond voice and word. Both toy with a subtext of mental health/mental illness and with the question of who decides—of the tyranny of the majority and of the patriarchy. The immigrant experience grounds their stories of the quest for identity, of everyday heroes. Read them both; read them together. Your world will expand, and that’s a good thing.”
January Magazine

“Vivid, memorable . . . Against [a] bewitching, deftly conjured backdrop, Maharaj brings on a procession of angry, equivocal, caustically funny Trinidadian monologists.”
Quill & Quire

“Maharaj indicates in a subdued but poignant way the corrosive effects of both colonialism and its outgrowth, neo-colonialism. One of the strengths of the novel, indeed, is its smooth integration of a great deal of the myth and recent history of the island and its people. In the process Maharaj, unlike V.S. Naipaul, demonstrates in his fiction that the present social, political, economic and even religious problems are outcomes of the days of colonialism, when the colonizer created ‘mimic men’, men with black skins but white masks. In this connection, time is a crucial theme in The Lagahoo’s Apprentice. [… It] is a well-crafted novel. It is elegant in its language, and it successfully employs satire and humour to foreground the legacies of colonialism: fragmentation of identity, disillusionment, personal and political turmoil, nostalgia for a lost ‘Eden’, the persistent sense of futility and entrapment, and the problems of hybridity. Yet, it is not narrow in its outlook, for it exhibits both the beauty and ugliness, the virtues and the vices, of the people in Stephen [Sagar]’s land and in this respect reflects what is also quintessential in Selvon’s works. It is an invaluable addition both to Canadian writing and to immigrant writing in general.”
Canadian Literature

The Lagahoo’s Apprentice is a fine performance by a talented writer . . . Maharaj brings to the page an unsentimental world-weariness and a voice of great assurance. He’s a writer with things to say.”
The Edmonton Journal

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