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De Rightest Place

Indira Gabriel, recently abandoned by her lover, embarks on a project to reinvigorate a dilapidated bar into something special. Like a Trinidadian Cheers, a rich cast of characters come together in this warm, funny, sexy, and bittersweet first novel. At the book’s centre is the unforgettable Indira, with her ebullience and sadness, her sharpness and honesty, obsession with the daily horoscope and addiction to increasingly absurd self-help books.


Barbara Jenkins
Fiction, Novels, Ebook and print
Trinidad and Tobago
Date published
6 Sep 2018

In this brilliantly comic novel, Barbara Jenkins hears, like Sam Selvon, the melancholy behind “the kiff-kiff laughter”. At its heart is a dilapidated bar in Port of Spain, and a woman determined to resurrect the place. But first Indira Gabriel must overcome her grief over her abandonment by her partner, Solomon, gone to Canada with his steelband combo – without telling Indira he’s not coming back. Then there’s Bostic, Solomon’s boyhood friend, determined to preserve De Rightest Place as a mausoleum to his memory. Not least, as the reader discovers, Indira has areas of darkness in her past that threaten her drive to make a new beginning for herself and the pub.

Like a Trinidad Cheers, De Rightest Place has a rich cast of characters who tell the story from different points of view. There’s I Cynthia, the Belmont maco (tale-teller) for whom no man or woman is an idol; KarlLee, the painter with his farcically complex love-life; apparently prim Sunity who eats KarlLee for her breakfast; Indira’s loyal right-hand woman Fritzie who stresses between keeping control of her rebellious daughter and coming up with new dishes to pull in the punters; and the apparently fatherless Jah-Son, struggling to keep his family together, who falls for Indira, and whom, against her better judgement, she takes to her bed – all to the disgust of I Cynthia, that a “hard-back” woman in her forties, should hit on such an innocent young man. And there’s Indira, a brilliantly drawn character with her sharpness and honesty, but also her vulnerability to the daily horoscope and an array of increasingly absurd self-help books.

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Barbara Jenkins

Barbara Jenkins was born in Trinidad. She studied at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and at the University College, Cardiff. She married a fellow student, and they continued to live in Wales through the whole decade of the sixties. In the early seventies they returned to Trinidad.

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