Caribbean Chemistry

Caribbean Chemistry - Tales from St Kitts
Christopher Vanier



Ah, to be an embryo again. Christopher Vanier’s story begins where we all do, conception.  Set in 1940s and 1950s on the Caribbean island of St Kitts and beset by a troubled colonial legacy, both Christopher and his island yearn for independence.  Vanier recalls the mischief of an island childhood: giving his baby brother to an ungrateful monkey, sneaking out to the cinema after school hours, hair-raising jaunts on a volcano, disastrous experiments involving a rocket… Is this boy lost in the plain sailing of childhood or can he turn his curiosity into Caribbean Chemistry? This is a story of self-discovery, told candidly in language rich enough to eat: Breadfruit, breadnut, bamboo, lignum vitae, marouba, weedee, and calabash. Funny and engaging, story about breaking the barriers of identity and finding them again. A rare view of the emigrant’s tale. 

Non Fiction  | ISBN: 9781908446107  | eBook

Christopher Vanier was born on the tiny island of St. Kitts in the British West Indies. He was awarded the Caribbean-wide sesquicentennial Lincoln Essay Prize in 1959, and a year later he won the Leeward Islands Scholarship. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1965, then crossed the Atlantic and obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University. In 2001, he began writing full time. Caribbean Chemistry won the Kingston University Life Writing Competition in 2009. He lives in Paris and is an active member of the Paris literary scene.

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‘Charming and vividly evocative… I feel as if I have got to know these islands, and almost to have been there.’
Helena Drysdale, author of Strangerland: A Family at War
‘One sees so many ripples as the story takes us from infancy to lively boyhood to the moral struggles of adolescence. This book should be read by every young West Indian, and, for the middle-aged and elderly, it will revive rich visions of our past.’
Jean D’Costa, Professor, University of the West Indies, 1962-1977
'Vanier shares moments of his people’s life with warmth and generosity.’
Amir Taheri, author of The Persian Night
‘With so many “celebrity” autobiographies doing the rounds, it is interesting to read a well-written and genuine autobiography written without cynicism and with a genuine intention of documenting the colourful experiences the author has had.’ Jeff Hughes, Teacher, Bloemfontein
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