Love the Dark Days
by Ira Mathur
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Pub Date 01 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 02 Oct 2023
“One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. A beautiful beautiful book.”
Michael Portillo, Times Radio
“Love The Dark Days is a troubled and troubling book, a heady brew that stays with you.”
“A transcendent memoir about extremes of love and hate, princely wealth, and the rebellious, righteous poor. I loved it.''
"A blaze of a book, astonishing, colonial, post-colonial, modern and post-modern - a Caribbean feminist #metoo memoir that examines inherited patriarchal damage of women and societal norms brought from the Old World to the New. This exquisitely written book examines familial love and fateful blood ties while scrutinising, with compassion, a flawed patriarch and Magnus too, Derek Walcott. Mathur deftly yokes together parallel worlds, colonial India and post-colonial Trinidad. Both worlds are dark, and both worlds hurt women. A memoir like this has never torn itself out of the Caribbean."
Monique Roffey, winner of Costa Book of the Year 2020
"Mathur brings alive startling episodes from her technicolour life, proving truth is not just stranger but often more compelling than fiction. There is a sense of her burning through her days, reckless, raw, and passionate. For all that, she offers the embers of her life with a rarely found wisdom. An exquisite, compassionate, and necessary book.""
Amanda Smyth, longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, 2022
“Ira Mathur takes the reader deep into the darkest spaces of her family history. Relentlessly honest, she tells a story of dispossession, patriarchy, passion and the wounds of a divided inheritance. Moving from pre-Independence India to Trinidad and London, we see the growing pains of the author as she decodes her relationships with her glamorous parents, her beautiful piano-playing authoritative grandmother and her siblings. In a world between poverty and privilege, she is guided by Derek Walcott, and Naipaul is ever-present. Ultimately, she must find her own voice, truth, and reconciliation. A window into a world rich in history that few know about. A compelling read.
Shrabani Basu, author of Victoria & Abdul
"What marvellous and heartrending crossroads multiplied during the twentieth century. Between east, west, north, and south; many kinds of ancient and untold modes of modern; from 'man' and 'woman' to vulnerable beings of imagination and heart... Over the years, I have witnessed Ira Mathur navigating an all too human writer's life; I have yearned for her to put something of her beauty, wisdom and pain into print. Here it is. Stranger and more compelling than any fantasy, here we are."
Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo ,Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (2019) Winner of the Forward Prize for best poetry collection, with Measures of Expatriation in 2016
“This brave and inspiring feminist critique of patriarchy and gender oppression set in Trinidad-- framed by the delusional greed and grandeur of colonial India and a weekend in St. Lucia spent with Nobel laureate Derek Walcott — has terrific promise as a biting movie adaptation for the #MeToo era”
Etan Vlessing, Hollywood Reporter
“Love the Dark Days is an absorbing and illuminating work of memoir, which manages to straddle continents and epochs while retaining tight focus on the vibrant characters who link and inhabit them. It is questing and self-questioning, and admirably understanding of the inextricability of the past and the present”
Novelist, winner of 2007 Somerset Maugham Award , Costa First Novel Award shortlist
''A compelling memoir of the binding power of love and the liberating beauty of forgiveness.'' Earl Lovelace, Novelist, Winner of OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, (2012 Commonwealth Writers Prize )
The stretch from a Mughal empire ancestry to the arrangements between the Mountbatten set and the Nawab of Savanur, the treachery and false promises of dismantled empire is all channelled through the annoyed, disinherited Burrimummy. We see Trinidad through an experienced journalist's eyes, Walcott and Naipaul.""
Alan Mahar, novelist and former publisher
"One of the most powerful and exciting new voices in contemporary literature. Love the Dark Days is an extraordinary, multi-layered memoir, drawing threads from the colonial past into a moving, contemporary story of fragile relationships. Ira Mathur is a real find."
David Haviland, editor and writer
Average rating from 18 members
Thank you for granting me access to this galley. It's unlike anything I've ever read before but it was refreshingly pleasant.