Gyanchand Rayman was born in Guyana, has lived in many Caribbean islands and currently resides in Saint Lucia. According to the short biographical write-up at the end of the book, Rayman has worked with young people over time through different avenues. He is also seasoned in various forms of literature and theatrics.
This collection is just one of his many works. The short stories, all set in the Caribbean and mostly in Saint Lucia, are recounts of Rayman’s experiences.
The cover art by young artist Laura Bruce, with its vibrant colours and expression, certainly initiates the enticement. With some twenty short stories, completely unrelated, Rayman manages to create a juicy spectrum of entertainment. Every story provides a different setting, and the characters come from varying cultures, backgrounds and time periods.
There is a little something for everybody from the Caribbean to relate to: from using your company’s property for your own benefit to getting lost in the forest and eating so many fruits that you get sick; from the guilt of delving way too far into assumptions, to the ease of spreading gossip in small communities; through to sleeping with a best friend’s wife. There are also vivid descriptions of traditional celebrations like J’ouvert, and indigenous delicacies like black pudding.
All the stories have underlying morals and end pleasantly with relief, rescue, redemption or a good dose of karma. I really enjoyed the one entitled ‘Gifts for Christmas’ because Rayman’s vignette of an island Christmas creates a perfect, festive ambience of my favourite time of year. The story is also very refreshing, with the main character asking God why he has been cursed with infirmity; he asks God for a sense of the life of a normal man and is blessed with an early Christmas gift, which is a rich and original idea from Rayman.
Although the cover suggests that readers should be aged sixteen and over, I consider that younger children may be able to read and comprehend it. However, parents should be aware that there are some adult situations described and a few swear words but they are coded by the author.
At the end of the collection Rayman requests feedback from the reader and seeks suggestions for improvement in his future work. I hope that this review will provide encouragement to Gyanchand Rayman and attract new readers for him. This anthology is certainly a must-have for any Caribbean literature collection.
‘Enticing Short Stories’ by Gyanchand Rayman is available from The bookYard, Star Publishing Compound, Massade,