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'Til the Well Runs Dry

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  613 ratings  ·  144 reviews
The New York Times Sunday Book Review Shortlist • Booklist Starred Review • O, The Oprah Magazine "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"

"As universally touching as it is original."—The New York Times

"[A] vivid debut."—People

"I was swept away.... like the first time I read my aunt’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God."—Lucy Ann Hurston

A glorious and moving multi-generational, multic
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Hattie Of course, it's about real people. Real people make booboos. The important thing is to continue to love one another. I think this family does that…moreOf course, it's about real people. Real people make booboos. The important thing is to continue to love one another. I think this family does that part right. Hi Urenna. Where did you see hatred?(less)

Community Reviews

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A.
Review based on ARC.

Oh man, how even to review this one. I signed up to get this one because it had something to do with Trinidad. That was really all that motivated me. Otherwise, it sounded kind of trite... ya know, "multigenerational" "multicultural" "blah blah blah." But my mom is from Trinidad and, unlike the author of this book, I have NOT heard much from her about her home-country. I was hoping the book might give me even the slightest of inside looks... And boy did it.

I would not describ
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Hal
I read an advance copy of Til the Well Runs Dry and I really connected with the characters in this book from the very first chapter. Marcia Garcia's life is filled with many ups and downs that resonated with me. This book took me through every emotion possible and at the end I wanted to follow Marcia and her family into the next chapter of their lives. This is a wonderful book that should be read by everyone who enjoys historical fiction. I have a feeling that this book will definitely become a ...more
stacia
So. Many. Things. Happen. Francis-Sharma packs her narrative tight with action and suspense in a story that spans nearly two decades and focuses on a non-traditional nuclear family (Technically, the couple at the novel's center, Farouk Karam and Marcia Garcia, are married, but they've been separated for nearly the entire length of their marriage, even as they continue to have children together).

The story alternates between three narrative voices: Marcia's, Farouk's, and their second-eldest daug
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Julie
I picked up this book randomly from the library's new arrivals shelf, the first from this author. The story is about Marcia Garcia and is set in Trinidad. We meet Marcia as a talented young 16-year-old seamstress and orphan caring for her 3-year-old twin brothers, who's barely able to feed her family. Enter Farouk, a 20 something police officer, who falls madly in love with Marcia and tries to win her love with the help of the local obeah (witch basically).

I was enticed by this book because of
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Kim Overstreet
This rich, atmospheric novel transported me from my dreary, wintery hometown to balmy, lush Trinidad in the 1940's. In a small, poor seaside town, protagonist Marcia is working as a seamstress and raising two small disabled little boys. She begins dating Farouk, a young policeman, and as their stories intertwine and unfold over decades, family secrets and political scandals threaten to be their undoing.

Much of the book is written in dialect, and the narrator changes from chapter to chapter. I d
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Andrea
The story takes place in Trinidad and I've traveled there before, so I could easily picture the details that were described and the foods that were cooked. The language was also very familiar and it was written as a true Trini would speak it. It may be hard to understand for someone who doesn't know the culture, but I read it for the pure fact that it was set in Trinidad and Tobago.
William
One of the highest compliments that I can give a book is that it is a page turner. This book certainly qualifies. When one foregoes mundane household chores and other obligations in order to sit down to follow the excitement and adventures of the characters in this book, then you know you have a winner. I did with very little regret. Its not a perfect book and I have a few quibbles but they are minor in comparison to the engagement and pleasure afforded by this book.
First, some of the quibbles.
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Robin Friedman
Late in Lauren Francis-Sharma's debut novel, "'Til the Well Runs Dry", the main character, Marcia Garcia, describes herself in a lonely moment as "a monster -- the Sucouya witch", and as "angry, bitter, loveless". The Sucouya witch appears to be a mythical occult character in Trinidad, the setting of most of the novel. The novel describes how Marcia Garcia came to see herself as the Sucouya witch and how she dealt with the situation. The book follows the course of her life from 1943, as a girl o ...more
Lcitera
A fascinating book. Set in Trinidad. Interesting characters, excellent plot development and the author writes the dialogue in the island rhythm of vocabulary which makes the premise very real. Timely look at immigration battles of the 1960s as the protagonist realizes her only hope to help her family depends upon abandoning her home. More than just a "good read"...this is a book of fiction with a history to tell. Bravo!
Tia
4.5 stars Outstanding! I enjoyed every minute reading this book. Definitely time well spent.
Ash
I loved this book but must admit bias as I was born and raised in Trinidad. The book felt like coming home, the accents, language, food, landscape, it all made me feel as if I was wrapped in a nostalgic blanket.

If I were to try to separate my feelings and focus solely on the book (it's hard), I think I would have still enjoyed the story. The author wrote beautifully, she was able to describe Trinidad without being overly flowery with language. She was able to create fully fleshed out characters
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Thien-Kim
As a child I've always loved books that transported me to another world, real or imaginary, that I would never be able to visit otherwise. In novel 'Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma, I traveled to Trinidad. Not only did I learn what life is like in on the island, but Francis-Sharma's rich writing allowed me to walk in Marcia Garcia's shoes.

What I admired most about Marcia was her ability to keep pushing to give her children the best life she could even when obstacles were thrown at
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Dawn
You don't know what you've got until it's gone. At its core, " 'Til the Well Runs Dry" is a love story that spans 22 years. The story is told in three voices: that of Marcia Garcia; her lover, policeman Farouk Karam; and their second-born daughter, Jacqueline.

Marcia Garcia is a teenager trying to single-handedly take care of 3-year-old twins who are not well. Her parents and sister are gone, and she sews to make enough money to keep the small family afloat. Then she meets policeman Farouk. Their
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Jan Pelosi
Disappointing book! There was so much going on that it almost seemed as if the author got a little too enthusiastic and tried to cover every possible topic she could think of. There were interesting aspects but overall I couldn't put a finger on a single character who I really liked. Not Farouk, not Marcia, not Patsy, not Wesley, especially not Farouk's parents, maybe I cared just a wee bit about Yvonne and Jackie (she was probably the most likeable character). Marcia just had a dark cloud hangi ...more
Katie
I received this book as an advanced read. I really wanted to enjoy this book but unfortunately I didn't. The characters were hard to connect with because they constantly made poor decisions and said things you wished they hadn't. Every time there was a chance for someone to do the right thing for the family, they didn't. The story dragged in the middle but did pick up once Marcia made it to the US. I did like reading about her struggle to escape her first placement and get on her feet. However, ...more
Shavonne
I must admit that when I read the first four words of Chapter 1, "The cardboard box trembled," I closed the book and didn't pick it up for three weeks. After I finished reading several other novels(Loving Donovan, Cane River, The Invention of Wings, Forty Acres, etc.) I picked up "Till the Well Runs Dry" again and forced myself to continue reading pass the first four word..."The cardboard box trembled." Thank God I did. What is that people say...never judge a book by its cover. Well, I will neve ...more
Cosima
I loved this book from page one. The author effortlessly describes Trinidad and its diverse people with such rich detail that I felt like I'd been there before. The voices of the characters rose off of the pages and into my ears. The trials that this tragically fractured family go through are very sad but there is beauty in the story as well. I connected with the characters and even felt protective of them like they were my own family. The things that kept it from being a full 5-star book to me ...more
Katherina Martin
I have never given much thought to Trinidad or the people that live there. This book was eye-opening even though it was set in the 1950/60's, and things have probably changed. So different from America during that same time frame. Very good story with characters that were quite believable. For those of you who dislike too much politics or history when reading fiction, you will be pleased to know that while you will be fascinated by, and immersed in the culture of Trinidad, you will not be given ...more
Lisa
Well, gosh, it took me FOREVER to read this book, but not because it wasn't good. I'm torn, almost gave it 5 stars. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, an area of the world I knew nothing about and now want to go visit!! I got so frustrated with the characters in this book, although I realize it was probably the most realistic way they would have behaved coming from such a poor and hopeless background. This is the story of a family, from the parents' meeting through raising four kids, and finally comi ...more
Shawna
A first novel with a strong sense of place - Trinidad from the 1940s into the 1960s - and a distinctive, infectious patois. The lyric dialogue takes a non-native a few chapters to get into, but once acclimatized into Marcia (mar-SEE-ah) Garcia's world, her story becomes engrossing. The complex island culture with about 2 degrees of separation between inhabitants, is lush and nourishing, but also inbred and dangerous. The plot chronicles Marcia's relationship with Farouk, incorporating her abusiv ...more
Kimberly
Sooooo....is there a sequel to this book? I mean, it kind of ended abruptly, which i guess is a sign of good writing since I'm so invested in how the lives of the characters turn out. I guess i'm kind of tired of unsatisfying endings. I really want to have a chat with the author about this book! I want to know why she chose to tell the story from Jackie's point of view and why she chose the time period she did. Overall, it was a nice peek into a culture I know very little about.
Amy
'Til the Well Runs Dry begins in Trinidad in the year 1943. Marcia Garcia is a 16 year-old girl raising twin 3 year-old boys that many believe to be the product of inbreeding between Marcia and her father, an idea furthered by the fact that the boys aren't quite right. Her mother is dead and the neighbors have run her father off. She's all alone, doing the best she can to take care of 2 little boys when she meets Farouk Karam, a police officer of Indian descent. Farouk is 23 years-old and is det ...more
Charity
(4.5 stars)

I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

This is an incredible novel. Francis-Sharma has a light touch with complex characters, leading the reader gently through two decades in the life of Marcia Garcia. She tells the story in the first person from the perspectives of three different characters in turn, and she does it well. Each character's voice is distinct; even without the section headings telling us it's Marcia or Farouk or Jacqueline speaking, it's appare
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Chrysler Szarlan
In her debut novel, Lauren Francis-Sharma has woven a tale of family love and treachery so richly rendered, I felt I was living in the book rather than reading it. In 1940’s Trinidad, Marcia Garcia, a beautiful girl with a backbone of steel, raises two nephews with her skills as a seamstress, and holds a deep family secret. She meets a young policeman, Farouk Karam, who is so stricken by her, he enlists the help of an obeah woman to become the love of Marcia's life and the father of her children ...more
Paige
I think this book would have pretty wide appeal. It works on several layers and it can be enjoyed on all of them. The story by itself is solid and engaging, weaving in magical realist elements. The writing itself is not particularly challenging. But Lauren Francis-Sharma also has a lot to say about gender, race, the dynamics of abuse, and her family's homeland, Trinidad. She weaves this part of the story in with subtlety. Overall it was a satisfying read.
Fleur
I really tried to like this book: it has all the elements of a great story, the characters are three dimensional and gritty, there was suspense and colourful imagery. But the one thing that was missing for me was that warm fuzzy feeling when you connect with the character or even when something goes right for a character. Neither of those happened in the first half of the book and I simply got tired of waiting for something to get excited about.
Rosee
Marcia Garcia is leading a complicated life in a small village in Trinidad. Raising two small boys at the age of 16, she cares for her family by taking in sewing and foraging for fruit, vegetables and the occasional forest mammal. When young police officer Farouk Karam, a man from the right side of the tracks spots Marcia, he knows he must have her. He will do anything to win her heart, even turning to black magic and love spells to accomplish the task. Readers follow the young couple and their ...more
Laurel
‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma is a heartwarming and at times, heart-wrenching, first book. It’s lush with the sights and sounds of Trinidad, its people, their hopes, dreams, and the realities of their daily lives. I think of Marcia Garcia as a woman who never really had a life of her own choosing until the end of the book, yet she remained strong and persevered when others would have broken.

The language of the book is lovely and I suppose the story has been told in one way or a
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Allison
This was a very interesting book. It is the story of a young seamstress growing up in Trinidad and Tobago and her tumultuous relationship with the man she lives. Rich with details of island life and lore, full of secrets and intricate relationships, this book is like taking a trip to the islands.
Martha
It must be good when I spend all weekend reading! Started it Saturday, finished it Sunday early evening. And consider it all time well spent.

This book tells the story of Marcia and Farouk, a young couple living in Trinidad and spans about 20 years. I really appreciated how vivid the story telling was and the author's ability to weave in cultural and historical details of the land and the time while also telling a very compelling and engaging story.

The title references the reality that we never
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Reading Addicts: This topic has been closed to new comments. Discussion with Lauren Francis-Sharma 1 5 Oct 02, 2014 09:32AM  
Reading Addicts: New relese-October-'Til the well runs dry 3 18 Oct 02, 2014 08:13AM  
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Lauren was born in New York but became the gal she is today in Baltimore, Maryland. She likes to think that the water fountains at St. Matthew School that inspired Tom Clancy were the same that inspired her, but in all likelihood it was the blacktop playground where every child born before municipal parks became fashionable, learned to fight and dream.

After graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Hi
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“Don't pretend like you know me 'cause you shook some neighborhood tree and got a li'l rotten fruit.” 2 likes
“She wore a loose, yellow cotton, sleeveless dress that tickled her knees.” 0 likes
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