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Strange Music

2.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  23 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In Laura Fish's ambitious and captivating novel, three very different women struggle for freedom. While Elizabeth Barrett Browning is confined to bed, chafing against the restriction of her doctors and writing poetry and fretful letters, at her family's Jamaican estate Kaydia, the Creole housekeeper, tries to protect her daughter from their predatory master; and a recently ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Vintage Digital (first published July 1st 2008)
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Mar 19, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
A bit of background helps with this novel. It is a historical novel set in 1837 to 1840 and moving between England and Jamaica. It is the story of three women. One of these is the poet Elizabeth Barrett. Her family made all their wealth from sugar plantations and the ownership of slaves and had lost a good deal of money following the abolition of slavery in the Empire in 1833. Barrett herself was a confirmed abolitionist, which led to strains with her family, especially her dictatorial
Lisa Findley
Jun 04, 2014 Lisa Findley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had a hard time getting through this book, mostly because all the terrible things that happen to women happen to the characters in this book, and also because I never quite got used to the Jamaican dialect (but that's on me). Fish writes a lot of beautiful, affecting sentences, but somehow they never gelled into either a solid story or a vibrant mood piece for me.
Artistic idea of a book that unfortunately lacks reading pleasure and flow in some parts (and that not only because of the sometimes inconsistent Jamaican Patois).
Recoomended by my professor as the subject of my thesis paper. Had a heading reading through those dialects. The third time reading turned out to be really enjoyable, though. A exquisite mix of multiple modernist narratology techinuqes. Reaally fancy the narrtive line of Sheba. Quite expressive and full of emotion. As if saw her crying for her desceased lover in the sugarcane field myself.
Sep 27, 2009 Elaine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too obscure. Between the slave dialects, the allusive writing and the historical setting with no background, I spent more time on Google trying to find something out about Barrett Browning's early years and the history of post-slavery Jamaica than I did reading the book. Not to mention that the England scenes were rather tedious, and there wasn't any pay off.
Oct 11, 2012 Yenney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Can't deny there's wonderful sentiments and poetic passages; just out of the three stories on three different heroines, the longest one is a little thin, and the other two are written in localized English of Jamaica, and that can pose some difficulty for a non-native speaker like me to enjoy.
Dec 16, 2010 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
A very interesting book interweaving Elizabeth Barrett Browning's life with that of slaves on her family's estate. It was fascinating but I kept expecting Elizabeth to meet Robert Browning and it never happened! I'll just have to go and read a biography I think.
Kerry O'Connor
Jan 29, 2011 Kerry O'Connor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poetic novel, beautifully written in an original narrative style, driven by emotion rather than plot.
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
09 short list-orange prize
Feb 09, 2009 Tracy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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