Last week I was invited to Annika Kinch’s book launch at Eureka. Her book “And the rainbow touched Mauritius” is a fiction taking place on our beautiful island. Annika has done a lot of research to be able to be as accurate as possible historically and geographically. She has also visited our island 14 times in the past 20 years and has a deep love for Mauritius.
I had the pleasure to meet Annika prior to her book launch at Eureka where she shared with me a bit more about her book. Here is part of the conversation we had together:
Hello Annika and thank you for having me today. You have been to our island many times now, could you share with me and my readers what made you come here in the first place?
The first time I came was in 1993, for my husband’s birthday. It was, at the time, quite an exclusive destination and a very attractive one and it made us want to come here.
What made you come back here over and over again?
The air is fresh. It is clean. People are friendly. The food is excellent. It’s the freshness. Unfortunately, the hotels are very expensive, but there’s something special about Mauritius. And then there’s this feeling that you live so close to each other in harmony. I understand that you have, of course, your problems too but you don’t fight.
Can you tell us about the essence of your book’s story?
My book is a feel good book.
The people in the book are very kind to each other. They are proud and quick witted. They come from different communities: Hindus, Creoles, Christians and Muslims, which represents Mauritius for me, living together in a small island in harmony.
It’s the story of these different people coming together in different life circumstances. There’s a baroness who comes to the island who is very rich. Laura’s family who come from middle class. And also some very poor people.
Who is the book for?
My major customer would be a woman of 30+ years, staying at a hotel who wants to read a feel good book, with some humor, nice relationships and a touch of mystery. I want to encourage the tourist that comes to Mauritius to explore the island.
Did you make intereseting encounters while researching for your book?
The people here have a kindness and a friendliness from the heart. I met some very nice people who opened their doors to me.
Do you have a story or a specific event that happened during one of your stays on our island that you could tell us about?
Yes, it happened during one of my earlier vacations on the island.
My husband is twelve years older than me. He’s now retired and he has been a sports commentator on radio and tv. In Sweden he’s a legend. In our house it was always sports, sports, sports. He referees faster than the speed of light. When we came here that time, we stayed at the St Geran and I thought we were expecting the same things from our stay. When we arrived at the St Geran, we passed through a big portal and you could feel the fresh air. There was no plastic, everything was rattan, there was a beautiful fish pond. And it was so fantastic. And then my husband touched me and I wondered what wonderful thing he was going to show me, and he said: “The world’s most wanted man just passed by us.” The world’s most wanted man was for me Pablo Escobar, and he had been killed a month earlier. So I couldn’t figure out who the world’s most wanted man was. And it was Graham Taylor, a famous English football coach who had come into trouble earlier that year.
And then we spent the day at the beach and in the evening we had dinner on the terasse and it was beautiful. Everything was prepared to the finest detail, there were torches on the beach and it was beautiful. And my husband said: “Don’t turn around, I’ll tell you when to turn around.” And I was thinking may be it’s a firework that he wants to show me. And he said: “There, do you see who it is?” And it was Merlene Ottey, Jamaican runner.
Two days went by and my husband and my son both knew that I wanted to go out and meet the people of the country, so they surprised me and told me we were going to go out. So we went to see a …football match! It was a game between the Fire Brigade and the Sunrise.
So we went and I wanted to stand with the crowd, with the Mauritians. I did and it was a mixture of different people. We were the only tourists there. Lots of families with different generations. And they were talking to me and telling me their stories. Some had come directly from work. Some didn’t have much money and had saved a long time to be able to come see this match. They didn’t have much but what was natural for them was to share their food with everybody and that included me.
This little gesture changed my whole perspective and warmed my heart really deeply and when I came back to the hotel that day, I carried with me that feeling that I had come home in a way.
I have had the pleasure of receiving one of Annika’s book and started reading it and as a Mauritian I’m am thrilled to see so much of the island coming through the pages from Laura who has been to the Loreto Convent of Mahebourg and paint dodo birds in her shop to Gaetan who manages several taxis and created a party which uses creole as main communication medium.
The Mauritian history is also very present throughout the book without it being a history book: slaves coming from Madagascar, the St Geran that sunk, the arrival of Mahé de Labourdonnais, sugar plantation owner…
Annika’s book launch at Eureka
Annika’s book will be available in bookstores, hotels and at the airport as from next week. As a foreigner, I think this book will give you a glimpse of Mauritius above and beyond the beautiful beach and relaxing time at the resorts, and as a Mauritian it will be an entertaining novel that we can completely relate to.
Have you heard of Annika Kinch’s book? Do you want to read it? Have you already read it? What character do you feel more connected to?