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The Bridge of Beyond (Caribbean Writers)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Tells of the survival power of the women of Guadeloupe who live in conditions of extreme poverty and deprivation and yet are filled with courage and love for life.
Paperback, 174 pages
Published February 15th 1982 by Heinemann International Literature & Textbooks (first published 1974)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 858)
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Kris
Simone Schwarz-Bart's classic novel The Bridge of Beyond, which will be released by NYRB on August 20, 2013, is an ode to the spirit of the women of Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles, caught between a colonial past and an uncertain future. In her prose, Schwarz-Bart captures the rhythm of language in Guadeloupe, as well as the longevity of folk traditions, spirits and magic, alongside a Christianity brought to the islands by French colonists. More than anything else, this magical, heart-rending, ...more
Aubrey
'Talk to me about life, Grandmother. Talk to me about that.'
At times I feel that these books of mine are being read for nothing more than their location on the map, another pinpoint prick in the wide geographical plane that in this case happened to land on Guadeloupe of all places. Well, what of it? Reading is for the narcissists, writing for the egotistical neurotics, so why shouldn't I funnel these urges down paths whose very nature seeks out the strange and unfamiliar? A recently come across
...more
Catherine Anderson
Mar 15, 2010 Catherine Anderson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catherine by: Washington & Lee University
It isn’t easy to get your hands on a copy of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s The Bridge of Beyond, but it’s definitely worth the trouble. This novel is emotionally poignant, at times bittersweet, but ultimately uplifting. Schwarz-Bart tells the story of Telumee, the great-granddaughter of a freed slave in Guadeloupe, as she works her way through love, poverty, family deaths, and especially the slave legacy of her ancestors. The novel is endearingly local, as it lets the reader in on the secrets of the to ...more
James Murphy
A simple story, the life of Telumee in rural Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. The story of a simple life told in plain, unadorned language--originally in French, translated by Barbara Bray--but language whose resonance in describing such a gentle life among the unassuming, happy villagers of Fond-Zombi rings with the universality of peasant lives cultivated in both a closely-knit community and their providential environment. This may be the plain language of a simple people, but it is beautifully-wr ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a galley of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not alter my opinions of the work.

This book is a great capture of life on a Caribbean island not too long ago dominated by slavery. Strong female characters, with parts and chapters focusing on different stories from their lives, but very reflective of the hardships in their unique situation. My favorite element was the relationship between Telumee ("Mama Miracle") and her grandmother ("Queen Without a Name.")
...more
Val
This is a beautifully written story from Guadeloupe, told through the lives of several generations of women. Part One starts with the emancipation of the slaves and Minerva moving to l'Abandonnee, then follows her daughter, Toussine, and grand-daughter, Victory. Part Two is much longer and tells the life story of Victory's younger daughter, Telumee, who is the narrator of the book. The men in the book are minor characters, some leave, other, nicer ones stay and die, but none leave more than chil ...more
Nicholas During
I took a French post-colonial lit class in college and after reading this book am surprised that it wasn't included. The Bridge of Beyond is a story about the horrors of French colonialism in Guadeloupe, it does have a magic realist feel to it, with a little bit of magic and humans controlled by inevitable fates, but really it is a story about a family and the island they live on. Though much of the story of the three generations of Lougador women is very sad, the book doesn't slow down to the s ...more
Orlando Fato
Quite an experience it was to have read this novel. "The Bridge of Beyond" is not only the story of Telumee or the women of Guadeloupe, but also the history of an island, or of the entire Caribbean?

Simone Schwarz-Bart is a skillful writer, and it is noticeable by her use of the language. The entire novel feels narrated by a shaman, whose metaphors and riddles are enthralling and spellbinding to the point of intoxication. Reading the novel feels like stepping into an unknown land, where the unex
...more
Mike Clinton
This novel is a perfect example of why I subscribe to the NYRB Classics series, since otherwise I likely would never have known about, let alone read, it. It recounts the life and arduous times of Telumee Lougandor, a woman of the Antillean island of Guadeloupe during the early 1900s or so. It's told in Telumee's own voice, beginning with an account of her family reaching back to the last generation of slavery, following through to her own youth spent under the wise and caring guidance of her gr ...more
ThePeoplesProf
The Bridge of Beyond
Author: Simone Schwarz-Bart
Original title in French: Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle (1972)
Also by Schwarz-Bart: In Praise of Black Women (Hommage à la femme noire, 1989), a multi-volume encyclopedia of the black heroines absent from dominant historical accounts but who have nevertheless lived on in oral narratives, folk legends, and cultural memory.

The Bridge of Beyond is a beautiful and inspiring story of generations of peasant women persevering in the face of crushing po
...more
Risa
This book was an easy read, showcasing the strength of Caribbean women in the face of the social and economic hardships they are plagued by. Despite some horrendous conditions, most of the narrative is laced with the quiet strength these women possess. My one criticism is that the narrative at some points seems void of direction, although I believe this is most likely intentional (but frustrating none-the-less).
Jill Schepmann
"A man's country may be cramped or vast according to the size of his heart."

"It's not tears, just a light mist, for every soul is bound to regret leaving life... Listen--people watch you, they always count on there being someone to show them how to live. If you are happy, everyone can be happy, and if you know how to suffer, the others will too."
David
A novel of the Caribbean. There is romance and voodoo. A sweet read.
Elisabeth
I read this back in college when I was studying Caribbean Francophone literature, and it is still my favorite book, even 12 years later. In English it´s called The Bridge Beyond, and I´m not sure how much it will lose when translated, but it is a beautifully written book in French and I will be rereading it again soon. The strength of the main character through all of the trials and tribulations that life brings her growing up in Guadeloupe, where both magic and reality are blended seamlessly, h ...more
khashayar
To me the book was a lyrical prose devoted to Télumée's odyssey of life. Although sympathetic toward women of color fighting against the cruelties of life in the harsh post-slavery (should I say post-colonial?) Antillean society, the book is not as solemn and somber as a socio-realist book is expected to be. The heroine and narrator of the book was more poet than a proletariat. I am wondering if a typical colored working woman is that much poetic. No wonder the French title reads as Pluie et Ven ...more
Elodie
One of my all time favorite books.
Branwynne
Oct 25, 2007 Branwynne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, obviously!
Narrated by Télumée, a black-francophone-Caribbean woman tells her life story of struggle within the confines of an ethnically disorienting and often cruel environment. I was pleasantly surprised at not only the emotional depth but the intelligence and strength of this book, which illuminates a world of which I was (and, likely, will always somewhat remain) totally ignorant. If not to learn about the world and lives outside most Americans' psyche, give it a go just for the ease of the prose and ...more
Tom Wascoe
The story of the life of a black woman on Guadeloupe island in the Caribbean just after slavery had ended but in a society still dominated by whites. Beatifully written. The descriptions of the flora, landscape and customs of Gaudeloupe and the descriptions of her feelings and thoughts are so wonderfully written that the prose has the feeling and music of poetry. A positive story espousing the philosphy of life given to her by her Grandmother: "The horse musn't ride you, you must ride it."
Susann
Am on p. 74. When does it get good?
Update: I abandoned it with 100 pages to go. I wanted to be interested in the story, but the narrator's detached tone was maddening. I understand the author's choice in keeping the reader at arm's length, but that style just doesn't work for me, and I seem to have a turned into an extra-impatient reader lately.

It got an overall thumbs-up from most of the book group members.
World Literature Today
"This is an infinite, celebratory novel, containing multitudes in the space of each rich sentence—a masterpiece of Caribbean literature that certainly deserves the badge of the classic." - Sara Wilson, WLT Editorial Assistant

This book was chosen as the September 2013 Editor's Pick for World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our site: http://bit.ly/172gtIc
TruEssence
I read this book and was just captivated by the strong women in this book. It is an amazing story of three generations of incredible women who struggled and survived many hardships. It speaks to me about the power of the human spirit. This book and the characters will continue to stay with me. This book is a must read for anyone who is looking for inspiration.
Keith Seekwhence
Usually not one for fiction ( that isn't science ) I picked up this work a summer or two back. This is a fiercely descriptive and provocative book. I'm only 2 chapters in currently, but the writing has gotten me bound to this....pun intended. I have yet to get to core of this work, but I will update with a proper review.
Mrs.Lady
Mystical and magical - a memorable read.
Simone Lehmann
As a fan of West Indian literature, I was delighted to discover an author I'd never heard of, from Guadeloupe. Schwarz-Bart's prose is occasionally dated but still brims with heart and courage, and fascinating glimpses into Creole folk knowledge and mythology. Highly recommended.
Katie McCleary
Jun 11, 2007 Katie McCleary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: post colonists
In English this book is called The Bridge Beyond. I love this book, tells the story of three generations of Guadaloupe women... very engaging and lyrical.
Shirley
Sui generis, at least from my limited experience as a reader. (If you know of anything else like it, please let me know so that I can hunt it down!)
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Where do I begin with this book? I've read nothing like it. It's so so so beautiful. Full review to come once I figure out what I can possibly say!
Mona Houghton
Good book. Evocative writing and really interesting in terms of Haiti--the social fabric.
Gala
Quelle poésie et quelle honneur à la vie. Une Vraie merveille
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161487
Simone Schwarz-Bart (née Brumant) is a French novelist and playwright of Gouadeloupean origin.

Simone Brumant was born on January 8, 1938 at Saintes in the Charente-Maritime province of France. Her place of birth is not clear, however, as she has also stated that she was born in Pointe-à-Pitre.

Her parents were originally from Guadeloupe. Her father was a soldier while her mother was a teacher. When
...more
More about Simone Schwarz-Bart...
Ton Beau Capitaine In Praise of Black Women, Volume 1: Ancient African Queens In Praise of Black Women, Volume 2: Heroines of the Slavery Era Between Two Worlds Un plat de porc aux bananes vertes

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