Episode 70 - Celeste Mohammed
Celeste Mohammed's gripping novel-in-stories, Pleasantview, is full of interesting characters who live in a fictional town in Trinidad. Celeste says she wanted the stories to dispel the myths about the islands and the people who live there. Celeste is from Trinidad and Tobago and came to writing via the world of law. She worked as an attorney for 10 years before deciding to pursue a career as a writer. I caught up with her virtually last fall ahead of her appearance on a panel at the Miami Book Fair.
Pleasantview has won several awards, including the 2022 Caribbean Readers Award for fiction. These stories pull back the curtain on the Trinidad most tourists don't see.
The novel features a diverse cast of characters: powerful and corrupt businessmen and women, an elderly woman who claims to be a card reader, a closeted lesbian, a troubled couple who have experienced several miscarriages, and young men who turn to drug dealing to make ends meet. The characters also come from different cultural backgrounds. In addition to Black Trinidadians, Chinese people and Syrians play major roles. The author shows how the different people interact across cultures and social classes and the conflicts that often ensue with the wealthy taking advantage of the poor. Poor women bear the brunt of the abuse. These stories and these characters are very dynamic and will stay with readers for a long time.
During our interview, Celeste reveals...
- Why it's hard to find a good man in Pleasantview
- How her writing is shaped by her experience as a lawyer
- The popular book from the 90s that she found lacking
The first listener to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook to tell us the name of the poet whose epic poem Celeste turns to again and again for inspiration while writing will win a free copy of Pleasantview.
If you've won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible. If you and I ever walked to church together in Chapel Hill, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore doesn't have a friends and family plan. But we'll always have those special memories of after-church brunch in Chase.