- Paperback: 256 pages
- Published: 9/3/13
- IBSN: 9781617751813
- e-IBSN: 9781617751820
- Genre: Fiction
A gorgeously written and highly entertaining debut novel about a small island’s struggle for independence from Britain.
Selected by The Airship/Black Balloon Publishing as a Best Book of 2013
“Colorful detours into native lore, such as a rich Dutchman’s fabled courtship of a local beauty, strike grace notes that echo Marquez . . . readers . . . will be rewarded with the little-known tale of how the underdog country demanded its own place in the 20th century.”
“With tremendous humanity and humor, the novel articulates these themes through the power of the relationships and the urgency each character demonstrates in this quest for self-determination.”
—The Caribbean Writer
“Revolution and historic change—words that can remain detached concepts unless we can somehow connect them with their human face and the lives behind them. This is what first-time novelist Montague Kobbé achieves in marvelous style and depth in The Night of the Rambler—weaving a Caribbean tapestry of places, wider events, the individuals shaped by them, and how they ultimately come together to shape events themselves in the times leading to a revolution on Anguilla in 1967.”
“However unusual this revolution is, it is a prelude to Anguilla’s eventual divorce from St. Kitts and Nevis, before becoming a separate British territory; its unconventional LOL factor could diversify an elective college course on revolutions with something bloody peaceful.”
“[Readers] will be rewarded with deeper insight into the political and economic turmoil engulfing that region.”
—Historical Novel Society
“This is a book about revolution and the underdog, about a small, isolated island fighting for recognition, opportunity and justice; it is a compelling tale about a curious historical episode, but also a vital look at priorities, perspective and the right to live in dignity, issues that, much like Anguilla’s rebellion of 1967, are all too easily forgotten.”
—The Island Review
“Vivid . . . funny, and thoughtful. Much like the revolution it covers, it’s compelling.”
—Columbia College Chicago/The Review Lab
“The Night of the Rambler is revolutionary, a reliquary, an impressionist tale of men who are by turns melancholy, raging, and often comic, their voices unique to this place and given a singular story.”
—Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here
“This is a fine novel, a surprising novel, perhaps the first true novel I have read about the nature of revolutions. The Night of the Rambler is ambitious, smart, and successful. It raises all sorts of questions about what revolutions want, how revolutions fail, and why revolutions are necessary—challenging all the while how history remembers them.”
—Percival Everett, author of Erasure
“The Night of the Rambler is exceptional. Riveting, deeply thoughtful, and constantly inventive, Montague Kobbé’s novel is part literary thriller, part revolutionary study, part epic historical narrative. Altogether, it makes for one profound read.”
—Joe Meno, author of Office Girl and Hairstyles of the Damned
With echoes of Junot Díaz, Vargas Llosa, and Zadie Smith, an exhilarating voyage across the Caribbean during a time of revolution from debut novelist Kobbé.
On June 9, 1967, sixteen men from Anguilla, a forgotten island in the Caribbean, set sail aboard a thirty-five-foot sloop, the Rambler, to make the night-time journey to St. Kitts, where they intended to carry out a coup d’état and install a new government sympathetic to their separatist cause. Set against the turbulent background of world politics in the sixties, The Night of the Rambler tells the story of a misinformed and misconceived plan, carried out incompetently by a group of scarcely trained and ill-equipped amateurs who escape calamity by mere coincidence. And yet, somehow, the main purpose of their mission, the furtherance of Anguilla’s struggle to dissociate itself from the newly formed state of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla and to return to the British colonial fold, is significantly strengthened by this, quite possibly the most outrageous episode in the history of revolutions.
Loosely based on the historical facts surrounding the Anguilla Revolution of 1967, The Night of the Rambler unfolds across the fifteen hours that lapse between the moment when the “rebels” board the motorboat that will take them across the strait to St. Kitts, and the break of dawn the following day, when it becomes obvious that the unaccomplished mission will have to be aborted. The novel consciously moves away from the “historical” category, purposely altering at will the sequence of “facts” narrated, collating fully fictional episodes with vaguely accurate anecdotes and replacing the protagonists with fictional characters. At turns highly dramatic and hilarious, Kobbé brings deep honesty to the often-unexamined righteousness of revolution.
With echoes of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s Conversation in the Cathedral, The Night of the Rambler touches upon the universal topics of freedom and self-determination with humor and sensibility, creating an alternative reality that is informed by real life but ultimately governed by the uncanny.
Click here to see a photo of The Night of Rambler taking Anguilla by storm!
Read a short story by Montague Kobbé inspired by Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final at Ampersand.
Read Montague Kobbé’s travel piece for The New York Times.
Montague Kobbé was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and has resided in the UK, Germany, and Spain. He has had close ties to Anguilla for over thirty years and maintains a regular literary column in Sint Maarten’s Daily Herald. His work has been published in the New York Times and El Nacional (Venezuela) among many other media outlets. He is the author of The Night of the Rambler (a finalist for the Premio Literario Casa de las Américas) and Tales of Bed Sheets and Departure Lounges. He currently lives in London. On the Way Back is his latest novel.