Krystal Sital

Krystal A. Sital was born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and moved to the United States in 1999.  Her critically acclaimed debut memoir Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad, traces the hidden trauma and fierce resilience of one Trinidadian family in a story of ambition and cruelty, endurance and love, and the bonds among women and between generations that help them find peace with the past. A PEN Award finalist and Hertog fellow, she holds an MFA from Hunter College. Her work has appeared in ElleThe New York Times MagazineSalonThe New York Times Well SectionToday’s ParentThe Margins, the Caribbean WriterBrain Child, and elsewhere. Krystal has taught creative writing; gender, sexuality, and culture; and peoples and cultures of the Caribbean at NJCU and FDU in New Jersey. She teaches creative writing in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe.

 

Visit Krystal’s author site: http://www.krystalsital.com/ 

Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad 
W.W. Norton, 2018

An eloquent new Caribbean literary voice reveals the hidden trauma and fierce resilience of one Trinidadian family.

There, in a lush landscape of fire-petaled immortelle trees and vast plantations of coffee and cocoa, where the three hills along the southern coast act as guardians against hurricanes, Krystal A. Sital grew up idolizing her grandfather, a wealthy Hindu landowner. Years later, to escape crime and economic stagnation on the island, the family resettled in New Jersey, where Krystal’s mother works as a nanny, and the warmth of Trinidad seems a pretty yet distant memory. But when her grandfather lapses into a coma after a fall at home, the women he has terrorized for decades begin to speak, and a brutal past comes to light.

In the lyrical patois of her mother and grandmother, Krystal learns the long-held secrets of their family’s past, and what it took for her foremothers to survive and find strength in themselves. The relief of sharing their stories draws the three women closer, the music of their voices and care for one another easing the pain of memory.

Violence, a rigid ethnic and racial caste system, and a tolerance of domestic abuse―the harsh legacies of plantation slavery―permeate the history of Trinidad. On the island’s plantations, in its growing cities, and in the family’s new home in America, Secrets We Kept tells a story of ambition and cruelty, endurance and love, and most of all, the bonds among women and between generations that help them find peace with the past. 

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