Carl de Souza: Jours de Kaya (Kaya Days)

The latest addition to my website is Carl de Souza‘s Jours de Kaya (Kaya Days). The book is about the 1999 Mauritian riots following the death in custody of Kaya, a popular Mauritian seggae musician, who had organised a concert calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana. We follow Santee, a teenage girl who has gone to pick up her brother from school but, when she finds he has already left, goes looking for him and gets caught up in the riots. However, this is not a straightforward, realistic account but something of a mythical, quasi-Dantean journey through a sort of hell, with Santee becoming Shakuntala, a mythical woman from the Mahabharata as she gradually takes on the mantle of Shakuntala. Helped by a man she calls Milanac and, eventually, her brother, Santee/Shakuntala loots, dances and continues her journey. It is only a short book, but de Souza packs a lot in.

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