The Greatest Trinidadian, New Zealander Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul

    The novel narrates the life of Mr. Biswas, a man of Indian descent living in Trinidad, who struggles against poverty and adversity to achieve personal independence and to build a home for himself and his family. Born into a poor family and married into an oppressive one, he constantly strives for autonomy and identity against the backdrop of post-colonial Trinidad. His dream of owning his own house becomes a symbol of his desire for self-determination and respect in a society that often denies him both.

    The 204th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul

    "A Bend in the River" is a novel that follows an Indian man, Salim, who moves from the East Coast of Africa to the heart of the continent to open a store in a small, remote town at a bend in the river. The book explores the changes that occur in the town as it evolves from a sleepy outpost to a bustling city. It also delves into Salim's personal struggles and the challenges he faces in adapting to a rapidly changing society, all set against the backdrop of post-colonial Africa.

    The 335th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Bone People by Keri Hulme

    "The Bone People" is a complex, emotional novel that explores the lives of three characters - a reclusive artist, a young mute boy, and his adoptive father - in New Zealand. The narrative delves into themes such as Maori culture, love, violence, and isolation while showcasing the struggle of these individuals as they try to form a family unit despite their personal traumas and societal pressures. The book's unique blend of prose and poetry, along with its blend of English and Maori language, adds to its depth and richness.

    The 790th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

    "The Lonely Londoners" is a novel that explores the lives of a group of West Indian immigrants living in London during the 1950s. The narrative follows the characters as they navigate the challenges of racism, poverty, and isolation in a new and unfamiliar environment. Despite their hardships, the characters also experience moments of camaraderie and humor, providing a nuanced portrayal of the immigrant experience.

    The 1110th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul

    "In a Free State" is a collection of three short stories and a prologue and epilogue, portraying the realities of post-colonial life and the struggles of individuals caught between their native culture and the imposed Western values. The narratives span across India, Egypt, Washington D.C., and Africa, each exploring the themes of displacement, identity crisis, and cultural conflict. The book provides a profound examination of the human condition, the concept of freedom, and the complexities of power dynamics in a post-colonial world.

    The 1470th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Faces In The Water by Janet Frame

    "Faces in the Water" is a chilling exploration of mental illness, based on the author's own experiences in psychiatric hospitals. The protagonist is a woman who is institutionalized after a suicide attempt and suffers through the dehumanizing treatment of the era, including electroshock therapy. The narrative is a surreal and fragmented reflection of her mental state, as she grapples with her sanity and the inhumane conditions of her confinement. The novel serves as a powerful critique of the mental health system and the societal attitudes towards mental illness in the mid-20th century.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

    "A Man Lay Dead" is a captivating murder mystery set in a country house, where a group of guests gather for a weekend of games and entertainment. When a harmless game of murder turns into a real-life crime, Inspector Alleyn is called in to solve the case. As he delves into the lives and secrets of the eccentric characters, he uncovers a web of deceit, jealousy, and hidden motives. With a clever plot, intriguing characters, and a touch of humor, this book keeps readers guessing until the final twist.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Crick Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge

    This novel is a coming-of-age story set in Trinidad, exploring themes of colonialism, identity, and cultural conflict through the eyes of a young girl named Tee. As she navigates the complexities of her Afro-Trinidadian heritage and the imposed British colonial education system, Tee is torn between the warmth and vibrancy of her working-class upbringing with her aunt Tantie and the strict, anglicized environment of her middle-class aunt Beatrice. The narrative delves into the psychological impact of cultural dislocation and the struggle to find a sense of belonging in a society deeply fractured by class and race.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Guerrillas by V. S. Naipaul

    "Guerrillas" is a novel set on a Caribbean island, exploring themes of race, politics, and power. The plot follows a group of characters, including a disillusioned Englishwoman, a struggling black activist, and a charismatic but dangerous mixed-race man who leads a band of guerilla fighters. As the tension and violence escalate, the novel delves into the complexities of post-colonial society and the struggle for identity and self-determination.

    The 3625th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Milkman by Anna Burns

    Set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, this novel follows an unnamed 18-year-old protagonist who is pursued by a powerful, older man known only as the Milkman. Despite her attempts to avoid him and maintain a low profile in her community, rumors spread about their supposed affair, leading to increased scrutiny and isolation. The book explores the protagonist's struggle to maintain her individuality amidst political and social turmoil, while also dealing with the pervasive threat of violence and the power of gossip in a close-knit community.

    The 3688th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Plumb by Maurice Gee

    In "Plumb" by Maurice Gee, readers are introduced to a small New Zealand town called Waimaru, where a tragic accident occurs, leaving a young boy dead. The aftermath of this event reveals the dark secrets and hidden tensions within the community, as the lives of various characters intertwine and unravel. With beautifully crafted prose and a keen exploration of human nature, Gee delves into themes of guilt, loss, and the complexities of human relationships, creating a gripping and thought-provoking narrative.

    The 4029th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Fireflies by Shiva Naipaul

    This novel explores the complexities of post-colonial Trinidad through the lens of the protagonist's tumultuous family life and his arranged marriage. Set against a backdrop of societal change and personal disillusionment, the narrative delves into themes of identity, tradition, and the search for meaning in a rapidly transforming world. The protagonist's journey is marked by his struggle to reconcile his ambitions and desires with the expectations placed upon him by his family and community, ultimately presenting a poignant critique of the societal norms and cultural heritage that both bind and divide the characters. Through vivid storytelling and rich character development, the book offers a nuanced examination of the human condition within a specific cultural context.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Badjelly The Witch by Spike Milligan

    The book is a whimsical children's story that follows the adventures of siblings Tim and Rose as they search for their lost cow, Lucy. Their quest leads them into an enchanted forest where they encounter a host of magical creatures, including giants, a fairy, and an evil witch named Badjelly who can turn people into sausages with her magic wand. With courage and the help of their new fantastical friends, the children must outwit Badjelly and rescue their beloved cow, embarking on a journey filled with humor, whimsy, and the triumph of good over evil.

    The 4673rd Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

    Set during the New Zealand Gold Rush of the 19th century, this novel follows Walter Moody, a prospector who stumbles upon a secret meeting of twelve local men who are trying to solve a series of unsolved crimes. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the crimes, which include a rich man's disappearance, a prostitute's attempted suicide, and a huge fortune found in a drunkard's cottage, are all interconnected. The novel's complex narrative structure, which uses astrology to organize its characters and events, adds another layer of intrigue to the story.

    The 5487th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace

    "The Wine of Astonishment" is a gripping narrative that explores the struggle of a small, rural community in Trinidad during the early 20th century, as they grapple with the effects of colonialism, World War II, and the prohibition of their spiritual practice, the Shouter Baptist faith. The story is told through the eyes of Eva, a strong-willed matriarch, and her husband, Bee, the spiritual leader of the community. The novel examines themes of resilience, faith, and the fight for cultural and religious freedom.

    The 6873rd Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. The Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    The book is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships and emotions, often focusing on moments of epiphany in the lives of ordinary people. Set primarily in the early 20th century, the stories explore themes such as love, loss, and the search for meaning amidst the mundane. The author's keen observations and subtle wit bring to life a range of characters, from lonely spinsters to disillusioned couples, each portrayed with a deep sense of empathy and psychological insight. Through her masterful use of language and narrative structure, the author captures the fleeting impressions and nuances of everyday existence, leaving a lasting impact on the reader.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography Of V. S. Naipaul by Patrick French

    "The World Is What It Is" is a comprehensive biography of the Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul. Written by Patrick French, the authorized biography delves into Naipaul's complex personal life, including his troubled relationships with family members and his multiple affairs. The book also explores Naipaul's writing career, from his early days as a struggling writer to his later success as a literary icon. French provides a nuanced portrait of Naipaul, highlighting both his brilliance as a writer and his flaws as a human being.

    The 7823rd Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. The Future In The Present by C. L. R. James

    "The Future in the Present" is a collection of essays and lectures that delve into the social and political issues of its time, with a focus on the dynamics of class struggle, the importance of revolutionary thought, and the role of the state. The work critically examines the potential for human liberation and the necessary conditions for a society to transition towards socialism. It emphasizes the significance of understanding historical and contemporary movements, while advocating for the active participation of the working class in shaping their future. The author's Marxist perspective is evident as he explores themes of power, resistance, and the quest for a more equitable world.

    The 7878th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

    "The Jumbies" is a captivating and enchanting tale that follows the adventures of Corinne La Mer, a brave and curious young girl living on the island of Trinidad. When a mysterious and powerful jumbie threatens her village, Corinne must use her wit and courage to protect her family and friends. With its rich Caribbean folklore and vivid descriptions, this book takes readers on a thrilling journey filled with magic, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil.

    The 8149th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Golden Child by Claire Adam

    Set in rural Trinidad, the book tells the story of a family with twin boys, Peter and Paul. Peter is academically gifted, while Paul is considered to be slower due to a complication at birth. When Paul goes missing, their father is faced with a terrible choice that highlights the stark contrasts between his sons. The novel explores themes of family, sacrifice, and the lengths a parent will go to protect their child.

    The 8518th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? by Alan Duff

    "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?" by Alan Duff is a powerful and gritty novel that delves into the lives of a Maori family living in New Zealand. Set against a backdrop of poverty, violence, and racism, the story follows the struggles and triumphs of Jake, a young man desperate to escape the cycle of despair that has plagued his family for generations. With raw and unflinching honesty, the book explores themes of identity, love, and redemption, painting a vivid and haunting portrait of a community grappling with the consequences of a broken heart.

    The 8541st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox

    "The Vintner's Luck" is a captivating novel that follows the life of a young vintner named Sobran, who forms an unlikely friendship with an angel named Xas. Set in 19th century France, the story explores themes of love, passion, and the pursuit of dreams as Sobran navigates the challenges of winemaking and the complexities of his relationships with both mortals and celestial beings. Through beautifully descriptive prose and rich character development, the book delves into the intricacies of the human spirit and the intertwining of the mundane and the divine.

    The 8682nd Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Live Bodies by Maurice Gee

    In "Live Bodies" by Maurice Gee, a small town in New Zealand becomes the setting for a mysterious and unsettling series of events. As the townspeople grapple with their own secrets and desires, a young girl named Alice discovers a hidden power within herself. As tensions rise and the lines between reality and fantasy blur, Alice must confront the darkness that lurks beneath the surface of her seemingly idyllic community. With rich prose and a captivating plot, "Live Bodies" explores themes of identity, power, and the complexities of human nature.

    The 8682nd Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Harlequin Rex by Owen Marshall

    "Harlequin Rex" is a captivating novel that explores the life of a man named Rex, who is born with a rare condition that causes him to have a clown-like appearance. Despite the challenges he faces, Rex embarks on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, navigating through a world that often judges based on appearances. Through his unique perspective and experiences, the book delves into themes of identity, love, and the complexities of human relationships.

    The 8968th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Book Of Fame by Lloyd Jones

    "The Book of Fame" by Lloyd Jones is a captivating novel that delves into the lives of the 1905 All Blacks, New Zealand's first national rugby team. Through a series of interconnected stories, the book explores themes of fame, identity, and the impact of sport on society. It offers a unique perspective on the players' journey to international recognition, their struggles, triumphs, and the lasting legacy they leave behind. With its lyrical prose and rich characterization, this book is a celebration of both rugby and the human spirit.

    The 9035th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download