Hungry Ghosts

A Novel

by Kevin Jared Hosein

On Sale: 02/07/2023

Hungry Ghosts

Enlarge Book Cover

Hungry Ghosts

A Novel

by Kevin Jared Hosein

On Sale: 02/07/2023


About the Book



“This is a deeply impressive book, and I think an important one. Its intensity, its narrative attack, the fascinations of its era and setting, make it impossible to tear the attention away. Energy and inventiveness distinguish every page.” — Hilary Mantel

From an unforgettable new voice in Caribbean literature, a sweeping story of two families colliding in 1940s Trinidad—and a chilling mystery that shows how interconnected their lives truly are 

Trinidad in the 1940s, nearing the end of American occupation and British colonialism. On a hill overlooking Bell Village sits the Changoor farm, where Dalton and Marlee Changoor live in luxury unrecognizable to those who reside in the farm’s shadow. Down below is the Barrack, a ramshackle building of wood and tin, divided into rooms occupied by whole families. Among these families are the Saroops—Hans, Shweta, and their son, Krishna, all three born of the barracks. Theirs are hard lives of backbreaking work, grinding poverty, devotion to faith, and a battle against nature and a social structure designed to keep them where they are.

But when Dalton goes missing and Marlee’s safety is compromised, farmhand Hans is lured by the promise of a handsome stipend to move to the farm as a watchman. As the mystery of Dalton’s disappearance unfolds, the lives of the wealthy couple and those who live in the barracks below become insidiously entwined, their community changed forever and in shocking ways.

A searing and singular novel of religion, class, family, and historical violence, and rooted in Trinidad’s wild pastoral landscape and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, Hungry Ghosts is deeply resonant of its time and place while evoking the roots and ripple effects of generational trauma and linked histories; the lingering resentments, sacrifices, and longings that alter destinies; and the consequences of powerlessness. Lyrically told and rendered with harrowing beauty, Hungry Ghosts is a stunning piece of storytelling and an affecting mystery, from a blazingly talented writer.  

Critical Praise

“This is a deeply impressive book, and I think an important one. Its intensity, its narrative attack, the fascinations of its era and setting, make it impossible to tear the attention away. Energy and inventiveness distinguish every page.”  — Hilary Mantel

"Hungry Ghosts is beautiful, biblical, vast in scope and power, ringing with an energy that blasts from the intricate language. Hosein is a new giant of fiction." — Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters and Everything Under

“Kevin Jared Hosein’s majestic and sinuous command of language summons the lush landscape of 1940s Trinidad as it wrestles with the poisonous legacy of colonialism. The characters at the center of Hungry Ghosts are suffused with a longing that is palpable on the page and haunts you long after reading. Hosein has written a singular, powerful novel.”  — Chanelle Benz, author of The Gone Dead

“The biggest, most frightening, beautiful, and alive novel I’ve read in as long as I can remember.”  — Evie Wyld, author of The Bass Rock

"Hungry Ghosts is an astonishing book--linguistically gorgeous, narratively propulsive, and psychologically profound." — Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other

"Hosein... sensitively teases apart the tangled web of class and religion and emphasizes the hard choices the powerless routinely live with." — Booklist (starred review)

“In Hungry Ghosts, Kevin Jared Hosein takes a small place, a particular slice of Trinidad and writes it with the depth and scope that it deserves. And he does it because he knows it - truly, deeply. The result is a story that is harrowing, fiercely beautiful and deeply human. I won’t soon forget these characters or this story. I think we are going to be talking about this book for a long time to come.”  — Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, author of When We Were Birds

"A vibrant portrait...Hosein evokes all this in rich, visceral language...His story, often brutal, ultimately tragic, is nevertheless lit by a wide embrace reaching beyond place and people to the bedrock...Immersive, persuasive: an elemental 'portal to the Caribbean' delivered in a distinctive voice." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Both a family drama and an acute study of social structure...A highly recommended story of family and class divides that will break readers’ hearts." — Library Journal

"Rich in vocabulary and description, the novel situates characters in a meticulously detailed setting that evokes Middlemarch, with a similar empathy for human struggle... In scope and style, it’s not far off a masterpiece." — Financial Times

"Hungry Ghosts has the mesmerizing power of a tale told on a bone-chilling night...A novel that slowly builds toward a climax of Shakespearean proportions...Hosein excels at setting this volatile stage and letting events simmer. Along the way, he delicately explores the often tortured backgrounds of numerous characters in his large cast, revealing their motives and desires...Readers will long remember this one." — BookPage

"[A] searing debut...Like the best historical fiction, Hungry Ghosts is immersed in the ideas and complexities of its’ shifting time period, for a triumph of well-researched storytelling." — CrimeReads

"The characters’ dialogue and deeper thoughts unfold with an authentic blend of English and the local patois...the land, the food, and the hard lives portrayed in Hungry Ghosts will stay with those who finish this saga." — Historical Novel Society

“What luscious, troubling, shimmering cloth Hosein has spun…Hungry Ghosts reads like a Greek tragedy relocated to a gothic Caribbean setting worthy of Jean Rhys — a story of cursed families and inherited vengeance, inexplicable horrors and impossible dreams and a country haunted, as Hosein reminds us, by the ghosts of the indentured…Hosein gives us no easy answers in this sumptuous, brilliantly written novel." — Times (London)

"A barnstorming fable about the perils of upward mobility, set in the dog days of colonial rule in the author’s native Trinidad … Told with riveting verve, this is a terrific novel, pegged to national as well as domestic strife, peopled by flesh-and blood characters and plotted to keep us on tenterhooks about the story’s pole-axing finale." — Daily Mail (UK)

"Kevin Jared Hosein’s novel Hungry Ghosts takes place on a sugar estate in 1940s Trinidad and the language is as lush, moody and thrilling as the landscape...Electrifying." — New York Times

"An intriguing read that forces us to confront the harsh realities of life and its varying juxtapositions of violence and beauty, love and hate, faith and despair.” — BookBrowse


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063213388
  • ISBN 10: 0063213389
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 02/07/2023
  • Pages: 336
  • List Price:37.00 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Cultural Heritage
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Psychological
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Literary

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