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Trini author serves up Universal Soup

Sunday, April 5, 2015
Author of Universal Soup, Burt Sinanan.

Many often say science and philosophy should exist separately, but for author Burt Sinanan these two disciplines are the foundational ingredients intermixed solidly in his book Universal Soup.

Sinanan, 42, a chemical engineer based in London, formally launched his first book—Universial Soup Adventures in Story Collecting at his family’s home in Claxton Bay, last Sunday.

The book, which is self-published, traces the adventures of a young engineer Beni during the course of his career. Beni, through his travels to different places around the world, meets people of different races and cultures whose experiences and his interaction with them changes his view of life.

Sinanan, in an interview with Sunday Guardian before his return to London last week, explained that he always wanted to pen his own book and share the experiences and lessons he learned during his travels.

He explained that as a student in Naparima College he was exposed to various books that piqued his interest in writing, and with the motivation from his former teacher James Lee Wah, he decided that one day he would pursue his passion for writing. Six months ago he turned that passion into a reality.

Sinanan, who dedicated the book to his six-year-old daughter, Surya Belle, said the main character in the book is fictional, but every story is a real experience and is coloured with examples of the various shades of humanity.

“Every single story is true, but it was tied together by a fictional character. It is hard to believe that one person could have all of these extraordinary experiences, but there were many experiences of many different people. I chose to link them and get the best of their experiences and characters and tie them all together,” he said. 

The book, which is loaded with historical titbits, some culinary gems and dashes of Trini humour, is a welcome addition to any local literary addict.

Sinanan said he needed to communicate his experiences to people all around him and the best way he could have done was through stories.

“It was to educate and entertain at the same time. So the book took a spin using science—which is my background—and the all-round part of me— the humanities—and try to merge it into one.

“We have covered so many real aspects of what human experiences are supposed to be and that is what is important to me the human experiences. Too often now people are sitting in their offices or sitting in their homes and the aspire for one thing and it is my humble view that is not a complete view, that is not life,” he said.

Essentially the book, he said, is “the process of meeting people and capturing experiences of mine and other people that is so broad and touching.”

Sinanan said that it would be “difficult and unfair” to choose one story or character as his favourite.

However he admitted that the female lead character, Beni’s Argentine love interest Fernandina, struck a cord in his heart.

“The trials and tribulations she went through and the strength she was gaining from her own experiences which were different. But she was to her counterpart (Beni) a love interest and when they went their separate ways, like any good love story, they got back together and understood that they have formed the complete circle of the rainbow. Most people do not know that a rainbow is a circle part of which is only visible above surface,” Sinanan explained.

The book, he said, is definitely a journey in many senses.

“I still try to bridge that gap between philosophy and science. There is a connection there and you cannot separate it from your own life, your roots and it is part of you and probably moulding you into some creature that you do not know who you are or who you are going to be it cannot be separated. It is like a love/hate relationship,” Sinanan said.

Sinanan, who is also an artist, did paintings of scenes related to each story and included it as an additional section in the book.

The book, he said, took him six months to produce and is also available on Amazon Kindle. 

He said his second book is almost complete and will be launched in the coming months.

The new book, he said, will be a journal of his daughter’s adventures of her travels with him around the world. He is also planning to publish a book of poems.

• Sinanan can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]


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