Crown Jewel: Radical West Indian Historical Fiction, by Ralph de Boissiere
Review by Anthony Milne, Journalist.
it reveals the untold story of the racial, cultural and political history of Trinidad. Crown jewel is book of great merit and gripping characters, revealing the tapestry of Trinidadian society and culture.
Tribute and Praise For Crown Jewel
Quote: “The Tribune (September 1957) declared, "De Boissiere has created an art work.”
The arts reviewer of Radio Australia's Overseas Service considered Crown Jewel to be "one of the most talented first novels I have ever read" (broadcast on November 1 and 8, 1952).
The Voices described Crown Jewel as Trinidad's "most important political novel... the fundamental work of fiction in our society" (Voices, 1973, p. 3). See p. 157 of “Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook.”
Picador press advertised it as "a Caribbean classic and a major work of realist fiction which in the urgency of its narrative drive and the depth of its moral concerns can prompt parallels with Turgenev and Tolstoy."
The Observer (June 14, 1881) said: "Once in a blue moon a lost gem is unearthed from the general rubble of period fiction. Crown Jewel... is one such find."
When the book was republished in 1981 Allison and Busby announced Crown Jewel as "one of the lost masterpieces of not only for the West Indies but for all oppressed humanity," and "one of the lost masterpieces of world literature...."Also reviewed in:
In the words of University of the West Indies Professor, Ken Ramchand, de Boissiere’s work, "combines social realism and political commitment with a concern for the culture of the feeling within the individual in a way that is unique not only among West Indian writers but among writers with a social conscience anywhere in the world." Ramchand says that Crown Jewel is essential reading for an understanding of the rich possibilities of young Trinidad in the 1930s and 1940s and the subtle makings of what renowned West Indian writer, Sam Selvon, called "the Trinidadian".
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