Jennifer Rahim’s “Goodbye Bay” – Repeating Islands


Goodbye Bay, the final and posthumously published novel by Trinidad & Tobago author Jennifer Rahim, will be officially launched by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, in partnership with the Faculty of Humanities and Education and the Department of Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies of The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, on Saturday, January 13, at 5:00pm.

This special event is free and open to the public; it will include readings from Goodbye Bay, music, and an introduction by novelist and academic Barbara Lalla. This event takes place at the UWI School of Education Auditorium, Agostini Street, St. Augustine, Trinidad. NGC Bocas Lit Fest writes:

Completed and scheduled for publication by Peepal Tree Press at the time of Rahim’s unexpected death in March 2023, Goodbye Bay is set in the fictional village of Macaima in 1963, and tells the interwoven stories of an individual — the narrator, Anna Bridgemohan, seeking respite from the pressures of her life in what she thinks will be a simpler place — and a community.

“As an historical novel,” writes Peepal Tree Press publisher Jeremy Poynting, “it asks probing questions about the nature of the means and ends of the project of Independence and its failures with respect to race, class, gender and sexuality…. It tells a gripping story with room for surprise, humour, tragedy and redemption.”

Rahim, who died unexpectedly in March 2023 at the age of 60, was a writer of fiction and poems, as well as a literary scholar and lecturer at the university. Earlier in her writing career, she was best known for her poetry, winning a Casa de las Américas Prize for her book Approaching Sabbaths in 2010. Her book Curfew Chronicles, a novel-length sequence of linked stories, was published in 2017, and won her a wider audience. It went on to win the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

Copies of Goodbye Bay and other books by Jennifer Rahim will be available for purchase at the event from Paper Based Bookshop.

Book Description (Peepal Tree Press): It is 1963, one year after Independence, and Trinidadians are beginning to wonder what they can expect. But for Anna Bridgemohan, the year is one of crisis. She has fallen out with her mother over long defended secrets about her parentage, she has had an abortion and broken up with her boyfriend and is perplexed by her attraction to her brightly political colleague, Thea. Since they all work at the central post office in Port of Spain, she decides to take up a temporary post in the remote coastal village of Macaima, in declining cocoa country, whose simpler rhythms, she thinks, will give her space and time to reflect, away from the pressures of the city and the intense political discussions at work. But neither space nor time is granted; the life of Macaima passes through the post office, and there is no way Anna can hold herself aloof from the stories that the villagers bring. Long before the year is up, Anna has been immersed in an intense seasoning in Macaima that will change her forever.

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