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A Tapestry of Life

Reviewed by Angad Ramwa, PhD

A Tapestry of Life titillates the imagination.

A Tapestry of Life is Khalleel Mohamed's first adult work of fiction.

Mohamed, who was born in Leguan, Essequibo, Guyana, is a former lecturer at the University of Guyana and a teacher. He was also Second Secretary to Rudy Insanally, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Guyana.

Known for his flair in challenging concepts and his superb storytelling ability, Mohamed, in his Tapestry of Life, teases the curious mind and takes it on a roller-coaster ride through the labyrinth of mystery, hair-raising suspense, passion of love, and a new understanding of reality.

Set in Guyana, at a time when it was a maelstrom of uncertainty, despair and hopelessness, the stories subtly expose the fragility of its people's will as well as their determination to survive.

The first story, The Many Faces of Destiny, takes a down-and-out Jamaican to Guyana, where he falls deeply in love with the sparkling and vivacious Yvonne. All is well until he indulges in an uncontrollable craving for a vice that threatens to destroy the relationship. Does totie-lotie-po, the highest form of love conquer all?

Don't Trifle with God!, the second story, tells of a faith healer who has the effrontery to think that he can outwit God and exalt himself in the face of man. Fake or farce?

The Ole Higue (vampire) is the tale of the woman, Bhagwalia, who sheds her skin, puts it in a mortar, and in the form of a light visits women and babies in the dead of night and satisfies her lust for blood with her dreaded bite. Can she be stopped?

Finally, A Choke 'n rob meets his match, focuses on one of the societal ills that plague Third World countries - the notorious choke 'n rob menace. At Bookers Stores Ltd the robber pits his well-honed skill, and burly body, against the brain of a simple country woman, Auntie Phoolo. Can she outfox him?

Both of Mohamed's books, A Tapestry of Life, and his compelling children's novel, Terror Island, are written in a fine, almost poetic, style and the characters strut the stage in spellbinding fashion. They are a joy to read.