Dasutu is a young boy with some peculiar language difficulties. We first meet him standing naked in front of a mirror asking what he can know of himself, and of the universe? He lives with his loving and supportive family on a small island during the 1960’s. Although the setting is idyllic, there are nevertheless philosophical and cultural challenges that he works through.
An obvious aspect of the novel is an unusual language treatment. This allows the text to refer to things that may ordinarily stimulate preconditioned responses, without linking to their usual signifier, thus offering a degree of freedom from that baggage, such that the reader has at least some chance of experiencing Dasutu’s naive perspective.
As Dasutu’s investigations are carried out, he makes some discoveries, while other questions remain unanswered, yet his journey is subtly resolved and satisfying.