SILENT WINDS, DRY SEAS
by Vinod Busjeet
August 2021 / Doubleday (US)
In the 1950s, Vishnu Bhushan is a young boy yet to learn the truth beyond the rumors of his family’s fractured histories – an alliance, as his mother says, of two bankrupt families. In evocative chapters, the first two decades of Vishnu’s life in Mauritius unfolds with heart wrenching closeness as he battles to experience the world beyond, and the cultural, political, and familial turmoil that hold on to him.
Through gorgeous and precise language, SILENT WINDS, DRY SEAS conjures the spirit and rich life of Mauritius, even as its diverse peoples live under colonial rule. Weaving the soaring hopes, fierce love, and heart-breaking tragedies of Vishnu’s proud Mauritian family together with his country’s turbulent path to gain independence, Busjeet masterfully evokes the epic sweep of history in the intimate moments of a boy’s life.
SILENT WINDS, DRY SEAS is a poetic, powerful and universal novel of identity and place, of the legacies of colonialism, of tradition, modernity, and emigration, and of what a family will sacrifice for its children to thrive.
Vinod Busjeet was born in Mauritius and educated at the Royal College Secondary School. He then studied in Madagascar at the French Université Charles de Gaulle. He holds degrees from Wesleyan University, New York University, and Harvard University and spent twenty-nine years in economic development, finance, and diplomacy, holding positions at the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and as a secondary school teacher in Mauritius. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS:
« Oubliez vos certitudes, laissez vous guider par vos intuitions en entrant de plain-pied dans le magnifique premier roman du Mauricien Vinod Busjeet. Avec tact et talent assuré, il vous conduira de l’enfer au paradis, du royaume de l’enfance et de l’innocence à l’univers insulaire où des esprits étriqués entretiennent des petites haines et des vieux secrets. Au lieu de se laisser enlaidir, le jeune et attachant Vishnu trace son avenir avec fierté. SILENT WINDS, DRY SEAS est un magnifique chant au courage et à la dignité. » —Abdourahman Waberi
“The beauty of Busjeet’s splendid, often breathtaking book is, like the best stories of journeys to young adulthood, the precious and well-observed and heartbreaking details of day-to-day life.” – Edward P. Jones, best-selling author of The Known World, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
“Whether navigating the rigid caste society of Mauritius, where reputation and family honor mean everything, or learning the ropes of American academia and high finance, where money and power rule, Vishnu Bhushan is a picaresque hero worthy of Dickens. Silent Wind, Dry Seas is a complex, honest coming of age story.” –Stewart O’Nan, author of West of Sunset