by Matt Beaudry
One of the biggest strengths of Cereus Blooms at Night in my opinion, is the prose. Mootoo delicately weaves vivid description, believable vernacular, and stirring character voice. It reads quite well, never feeling too lofty or dense. The biggest turn-off would have to be the pacing. While the initial setup is intriguing, it takes a while for conflict and development to develop. This was most likely deliberate, as the beginning astutely establishes the culture and the characters. After page 70, though, the plot gets moving and becomes more engaging. Another aspect of the novel that could be a turn-off are its themes. The book deals heavily with sexuality and gender identity. The symbolism for the themes can seem esoteric, and such themes might evoke indifference. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the book, but it is a heavier read that requires analytic thinking and consideration of uncommon themes.