Cereus Blooms at Night

Shani Mootoo

Cereus Blooms at Night

Everyone assumes that Mala Ramchandin, an elderly woman living in Paradise, a village on a fictional Caribbean island, is crazy. Mala is the prime suspect in her father's murder, but is considered unfit to stand trial. Her story is told by the nurse caring for her, a young man named Tyler who feels like an outsider himself because of being gay. What unfolds is a lyrical, deftly crafted tale of love, violence and family secrets.

Cereus Blooms at Night was a finalist for the 1997 Scotiabank Giller Prize.


"I brought my face inches away from hers and whispered, 'If I were strapped like that, I would hate it, too.' And then I felt foolish, for what was the point of empathizing without taking more positive action? I wanted to touch her again but I left and returned to my room feeling impoverished and weak."

From Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo ©1996. Published by Grove Press.