''A Brighter Sun'' is a novel by Trinidadian author Samuel Selvon, published in 1952.
Set in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII-era Trinidad, the story centers on a young Indian native named Tiger, who is placed in an arranged marriage at age 16. Leaving home with his equally-young bride Urmilla, Tiger struggles to come to terms with his newly-acquired adult status and proving that he has, in fact, reached true manhood.
The story also delves into the lives of Tiger's multi-ethnic neighbors in his new community of Barataria, the FantasticRacism that is both subtly and openly expressed there and throughout Trinidad at large, and how the nation as a whole is affected by the war happening hundreds of miles away from the Caribbean shores.
The book was Selvon's first of 10 novels, published by Longman Publishers.
!!Tropes present in ''A Brighter Sun'':
* AbusiveParents: Joe Martin's grand-aunt, Ma Lambie, frequently beat him during his childhood.
* AccidentalMisnaming: Tiger's boss, Chief, calls him John. It's played with in that Chief ''knows'' what Tiger's name actually is, but simply calls him John for ease of reference.
* TheAlcoholic: Sookdeo is the village drunkard, and can never go without a drink; some persons claim that he'll die from either too much rum or lack of it. [[spoiler:The latter case turns out to be true; he [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness refuses to have a drink]] when his land is taken over, having lost his reason and will for living]].
* AuthorAvatar: Tiger is noted in the novel's commentary to be Selvon's point-man on the unification of a racially-split Trinidad. Selvon himself, though Indian, [[RealLifeWritesThePlot was brought up with exposure to Creole food and culture]].
* CallingTheOldManOut: Near the end of the novel, Tiger [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome does this]] to two doctors (one an Indian, one a Negro) who had earlier refused to come and see Urmilla in her moment of illness because of their assumptions born of elitism and FantasticRacism.
* CharacterDevelopment: Tiger gets this over time, learning what it means to really be a man and to grow into maturity. Urmilla also grows, becoming more confident as a wife and mother.
* CoolBigSis: Rita becomes this for Urmilla.
* CoolOldGuy: Sookdeo.
* CulturalRebel: Tiger and Boysie. Tiger admits at one point that he was never into the habit of attending the various Indian feasts in his village, and he doesn't subscribe to the notion of only interacting with members of his own race. Boysie openly parades around with a black girlfriend, enjoying the stares he gets from old-fashioned Indians for it, and makes a point of hailing couples who are similarly mixed-raced whenever he passes them on the street.
* DinnerWithTheBoss: Late into the story, Tiger invites two of his American bosses, who've long wanted to eat Indian cuisine in a genuine Indian home, to come to his home for dinner. Unfortunately, since Tiger decides to inform Urmilla of this the night before the scheduled home visit, Urmilla is put under pressure to make things go perfectly for the Americans. With help from Rita (and borrowing some of the latter's furniture, cutlery and an electrical wire to get electricity into the house), she manages to pull it off. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, a drunken Tiger doesn't appreciate her effort and beats her for talking back to him, causing her to miscarry later]].
* DomesticAbuse: A regular occurrence between Joe and Rita, with Joe usually being the aggressor. However, Rita can dish out as much as she takes.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Urmilla, but only because she's not used to wearing shoes to begin with, due to her Indian background.
* ExecutiveMeddling: "A Brighter Sun" was not Selvon's first choice of a title for the novel, according to its foreword; instead, he had intended to call it "Soul and Soil," or "Highway in the Sun," the name which was eventually given to the novel's radio version 15 years after its first publication. Still, the current title is an appropriate one, as the foreword also admits.
--> At the end of the novel, Tiger, chastened and humbled by experience, looks forward, as does the country he is made to represent, to [[TitleDrop a brighter sun]], shedding its lambent light of independence, racial harmony, and increasing knowledge.
* FantasticRacism: All over the place, but especially expressed by Indians and Blacks against each other.
* FunPersonified: Boysie.
* HappilyAdopted: Henry, Rita's nephew, was left with her by her sister, who ran off to Venezuela with a man. Despite this, he's come to accept Joe and Rita as his parents, even calling them "Pa" and "Ma," and they care for him too, in part because Rita can't have children of her own.
--> '''Joe:''' Don't mind Henry ain't my child, it's just as if he was mine.
* HappilyMarried: Tall Boy and Mary. Tiger and Urmilla gradually work at becoming this.
* IllGirl: Urmilla, during the last third of the book. She gets better. [[spoiler:Her unborn child doesn't]].
* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Subverted with Tiger and Urmilla's second child]].
* JerkAss: Numerous characters, but Deen and his wife stand out in particular. Tiger gradually becomes this as well; however, he gets much-needed CharacterDevelopment.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Tiger feels intense remorse [[spoiler:for beating Urmilla]], but it only comes after he's sobered up and gotten a WhatTheHellHero from Joe.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: In Joe's backstory, at age 16, he [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome gives one to]] [[EvilMatriarch Ma Lambie]] [[HoistByHisOwnPetard in retaliation]] [[LaserGuidedKarma for]] [[TheDogBitesBack her constant abuse of him]]. [[spoiler:Tiger later inflicts this on Urmilla while drunk, causing her to miscarry]].
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Sookdeo.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Both Tiger and the narrative only ever refer to his American boss as Chief.
* ParentalAbandonment: Joe's mother left him with his grand-aunt Ma Lambie, and nobody ever knew who his father was. Also, Henry's mother left him with Joe and Rita (his uncle and aunt) to live with a boyfriend in Venezuela, and his father is out of the picture as well.
* RuleOfSymbolism: The sun as a figure of hope; hence, the novel's title. Also, [[TruthInTelevision sugar-cane fields as a figure of enslavement]].
* SheCleansUpNicely: To prepare for Tiger's bosses coming home for dinner, Rita has Urmilla put on some makeup, including lipstick and rouge, despite Urmilla insisting Tiger won't like it. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown Urmilla's right]]]].
* ShrinkingViolet: Urmilla.
* SupremeChef: Both Rita and Urmilla.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Tiger and Rita.
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:"...the baby born dead."]].
* WhatTheHellHero: In what is possibly her CrowningMomentOfAwesome, Rita gives Tiger a savage telling-off when he expresses suspicion of Urmilla cheating on him (and the lecture takes up a whole long paragraph). Later on, Joe subjects Tiger to a much shorter but more threatening lecture for ignoring Urmilla in her time of illness [[spoiler:shortly before her miscarriage]].
--> '''Joe:''' What happen? You don't see your wife at home sick? You carrying on like a little boy still. If I was your father, I beat you till you can't stand up.
* WhoNamesTheirKidDude: Tiger's boss [[LampshadeHanging remarks]] on how odd his name is.
--> '''Chief:''' How come you have such a funny name, John? Why did they call you Tiger?
--> '''Tiger:''' I don't know, I must be resemble a tiger!
* WouldHitAGirl: Joe Martin [[DomesticAbuse fights regularly]] with his common-law wife, Rita, and Tiger also recalls that Deen, another of his neighbors, once kicked his wife in front of everyone simply because she came into Tall Boy's shop while he was having a drink and asked him for money. Tiger himself, early in the novel, determines that he'll "bully the life out of" Urmilla if she doesn't do what he tells her. [[spoiler:He later does beat Urmilla while drunk, but it results in her miscarrying]].
* YourCheatingHeart: On at least two occasions, Tiger has the opportunity open to him to sleep with prostitutes. Both times, however, he doesn't get to go through with it because the women don't think highly of him due to him being an Indian.