“Freedom is just feet away from me.”

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 216
Published: 4th May, 2021
Rate: 4 stars
Goodreads Synopsis
Coconut trees. Carnival. Rum and coke. To many outsiders, these idyllic images represent the supposed easy life in Caribbean nations such as Trinidad and Tobago. However, the reality is far different for those who live there—a society where poverty and patriarchy savagely rule, and where love and revenge often go hand in hand.

Written in a combination of English and Trinidad Creole, Pleasantview reveals the dark side of the Caribbean dream. In this novel-in-stories about a fictional town in Trinidad, we meet a political candidate who sets out to slaughter endangered turtles for fun, while his rival candidate beats his “outside-woman,” so badly she ends up losing their baby. On the night of a political rally, the abused woman exacts a very public revenge, the trajectory of which echoes through Pleasantview, ending with one boy introducing another boy to a gun and to an ideology which will help him aim the weapon.

Merging the beauty and brutality of Trinidadian culture evoked by writers such as Ingrid Persaud and Claire Adam with the linguistic experimentation of Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, Pleasantview is a landmark work from an important new voice in international literary fiction.

My Take
I am obsessed with Pleasantview. Just, everything about it. I read it the first time last year as an ebook and had the pleasure of reading it again this year in hard copy and my oh my, what a treat! I think I loved it more the second time round.

Pleasantview is a novel in stories, a novel written in a short story format, which I found so cool. A collection of short stories that tie in together. This made me so involved and attached with the characters because in as much as they left the page after their story was done, they’d show up in the next ones and seeing how they relate. I loved it!

Pleasantview is definitely not so pleasant. The clever writing drew me in from the first story. Celeste Mohammed takes us through this fictional town in Trinidad that mirrors real life with strong and vivid descriptions that left little to the imagination. She explores different culture and people throughout the book and it was interesting the different facets that come out of it.

“It was so hard to tell music from noise, the good places from the bad places, the good guys from the bad guys”

Pleasantview view is unapologetic in how it’s written and how the characters come off the book in the stories and it was so refreshing to read about. The use of language is brilliant and make it really easy to follow along and read through. The book is sad in parts, funny in others and heartbreaking overall.

Pleasantview is a raw and open book that explores some difficult themes in a very realistic way. From a busy body woman, to young love to wonderment and wanting to better themselves, there is something for everyone in this wonderful collection of short stories.
I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?