House of Anansi Press Imprint Logo

Valmiki's Daughter

Written by Shani Mootoo

  • 408 Pages
  • 9780887848377
  • 7.880" x 4.880"
  • FICTION / Lesbian
  • FICTION / Literary



Publication Date November 01, 2009

In Valmiki's Daughter, Giller Prize finalist and bestselling novelist Shani Mootoo returns to some of the themes she first explored in her breakout book, Cereus Blooms at Night, to offer a hugely entertaining and hypnotically beautiful family saga.The story centers on a wealthy Trinidadian family -- in particular, Valmiki, a renowned doctor and loving, if confused, father; and his youngest daughter, Viveka, lively, intelligent, and intent on escaping the gilded cage that protects but also smothers her.

With this masterful novel, Mootoo peels back layers of prejudice to expose the complex interaction of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Discerning but non-judgmental, she eases us deep into the fascinating lives of her characters and creates a juicy, sexy, beautiful book, full of the vigorous stuff of life.

Long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2009


Shani Mootoo
Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. She has lived in Canada since the early 1980s. Her acclaimed first novel, Cereus Blooms at Night, was published worldwide and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, among other awards. Mootoo is also an accomplished visual artist. She lives in Toronto.


"[Valmiki's Daughter is] an in-depth exploration of willful miscommunication and suppressed desire...A wise and skillful guide to their dark, complicated world...a stand-out novel that offers a nuanced look at families that fail to nurture" Montreal Gazette

"Mootoo's talent for writing vivid and redolent landscapes is one of the hallmarks of her work...An intricately woven and thoughtfully constructed book." Caribbean Review of Books

"[Valmiki's Daughter] shimmers with passion; with the heat of desires denied. Heavy with smells, rich with flavours and throbbing with music, it is a feast for the senses. The landscape serves as a metaphor for sexuality: the dangerous jungle of unleashed desires vie with the manicured lawns of nature suppressed...Readers can look to this book as a tropical respite from a bitter winter's chill." Winnipeg Free Press

"A masterful storyteller." Washington Post

"A novel for both brain and heart: at once wise and smouldering..." Camilla Gibb

"A readable family saga...[Valmiki's Daughter] is possessed of a droll, knowing humour...[Shani Mootoo] gives us a view of Trinidad we have not had before." Globe and Mail

"A writer with a generous spirit and a gift for storytelling." Globe and Mail

"Highly charged and downright explosive. Mootoo's description of sexual awakening is one of the most poignant I've run across." Xtra

"Impressive...Mootoo has an impeccable ear...authentic and powerful." New York Times Book Review

"Mootoo can be counted as one of our most gifted writers." Vancouver Sun

"Mootoo's prose is vivid, poetic and passionate. She takes no easy routes with the narrative. This is a writer who knows how to satisfy the reader...NNNN" NOW Magazine

"Mootoo's sense of narrative pacing verges on genius." Edmonton Journal

"Shani Mootoo elevates her material through deft characterization, an ever-building sense of urgency, and her obvious love for an island landscape..." Georgia Straight

"It's a vibrating and uplifting book." Deccan Herald, Bangalore

"Blurb" DNA Mumbai

"What's most her elucidation of the tragic ways in which stereotypes of race, gender and sexuality ensnare the young." The Times of India

"Valmiki's Daughter weaves together vingettes that are seemingly borrowed from life itself." The Telegraph, Kolkalta

"What make's Mootoo's book worth reading is how she takes a simple plot and brings it to life through her deft characterisation and an ever-present sense of urgency." The Asian Age, New Delhi