--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
First published in 1941, this vivid and poetic family saga was the first modern novel to focus on the lives of immigrants from India in the British Caribbean colonies. Set on the coast of British Guiana, the story spans three generations and revolves around Ramgollal, an old Indian cow-minder on the Corentyne coast who has worked hard for many years to save money and build his herd of cows. He is proud of his children from two marriages, particularly the daughter of his first marriage, who is married to a well-to-do white planter. Their son Geoffry is light-skinned, ambitious, and poised to make a success of his life, and Ramgollal takes much satisfaction in his grandson’s accomplishments. When Geoffry seduces and impregnates Kattree, his mother’s half sister, however, Ramgollal’s world begins to fall apart. Soon thereafter, Kattree’s sister Beena gets involved with a married man who is subsequently arrested on a murder charge, and Ramgollal despairs over his losses. Despite his struggles to respect tradition and provide for the future, these sordid scandals threaten both Ramgollal’s savings and his family’s good name.