‘Extraordinary and emotionally immersive... The powerful themes that emerge are both unpredictable and unforgettable, dealing with the masquerade of everyday love as well as hidden secrets that are the legacy of family.’—Margaret Busby
Alethea Lopez is about to turn 40. A fashionable, mixed-race boutique manager who lives and works in Trinidad’s capital city, Port of Spain, she is feisty, fiercely independent and morally ambiguous. Her secrets show only in her bruised skin and the occasional glimpse into her shattered sense of self.
When Alethea witnesses a woman murdered by her jealous lover, her eyes are opened to the lives of the women all around her: from her colleague Tamika, who is engaged to marry an unfaithful man, and her childhood best friend Jankie, the teenage bride of their PE teacher, to her own mother, Marcia, who allowed her daughter to be sexually abused in exchange for the family’s financial and emotional stability.
This rich, raw and urgent debut novel is a domestic noir of sex and survival set in Trinidad’s capital. In first-person Creole, Alethea brings us her truth in an arresting, unsparing Trinidadian voice. As her story unfolds, we see her navigate a dangerous path between her abusive partner Leo, a failed musician who wants to own her body and soul, and the spineless boss she sleeps with only to preserve her personal power. But when she is reunited with her adopted brother, decades after they parted, memories and family secrets begin to unlock and she starts to understand the person she has become.
Alethea’s next step is to decide on the woman she wants to be.