Crown Jewel

Paperback
De Boissiere's best-known novel, Crown Jewel , is a story of the economic struggle of Trinidad workers in the 1930s and is regarded as one of the major political novels of the Caribbean. It is set in the 1930s at the time of the Butler riots in the oilfields of south Trinidad - part of the general disturbances in the British Caribbean during the 1930s. Set in his native Trinidad in the 1930s, Crown Jewel describes intricate social and racial gradations. At the bottom of the society are the blacks - at the top are the colonial elite, the English. One of the characters in Crown Jewel , Andre de Courdnay, a young musician who works as a yeast salesman, is torn between an Englishwoman, the daughter of a judge, and the woman he actually loves, the teenage daughter of a Venezuelan seamstress. This young coloured girl has a fierce belief in de Courdnay as an artist capable of creating social change. What distinguishes de Boissiere's characters from so much political art is that they aren't two-dimensional. He understands the complexity of the human heart. Crown Jewel climaxes with the 1937 workers' revolt in Trinidad in which workers were shot by police. In the words of University of the West Indies Professor, Ken Ramchand, de Boissiere's work, combines social realism and political commitment with a concern for the culture of the feeling within the individual in a way that is unique not only among West Indian writers but among writers with a social conscience anywhere in the world. Ramchand says that Crown Jewel is essential reading for an understanding of the rich possibilities of young Trinidad in the 1930s and 1940s and the subtle makings of what renowned West Indian writer, Sam Selvon, called the Trinidadian . It was published in Britain after Salman Rushdie praised it. Crown Jewel was previously published in 1981 by Allison & Bushby.