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Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  632 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
AMANDA SMYTH's short stories have been published in "New Writing 12, London Magazine, Firsthand, " and" New Voices." She lives in England. "From the Trade Paperback edition."
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 30th 2009 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published 2009)
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Aug 01, 2011 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Celia knows that her mother died in childbirth and that her father, a white Englishman, wanted nothing to do with her, but she daydreams about one day taking the long trip to Southampton, England, to track her father down. Surely once he meets her he’ll want to get to know her?

When Celia has to deliver limes to Mrs Jeremiah, who is rumoured to be clairvoyant, she’s warned that she will be hurt by her Aunt’s husband Roman. Mrs Jeremiah also issues the following prophesy. “Men will want you like t
Drama, drama, drama. This reads like a Brazilian soap opera.
I quite liked it even if I knew exactly where it was going around the page 120. This is your typical story about women with its usual themes of love, betrayal, pregnancy, motherhood.
What I liked most about the book is probably the setting which is Trinidad and Tobago. It was written in the first person in a rather simple style but the descriptions were captivating.
It definitely calls for a sequel.
cardulelia carduelis
You should know, going in, that Black Rock is tremendously difficult to read.
It's not the writing, the language, or the setting - all are ok, some nice descriptions of scenery and the dialogue gives a sense of place that other islanders have commented is representative.

The difficulty comes with both our heroine, her voice, and the plot.
If nothing else Black Rock is a story of manipulation, entrapment, and abuse of women (of both races but honestly the physical abuse and debasement of black wo
I've read a proof copy of this, it isn't out yet. It's full of lovely writing. She's a mate (in my writer's group) so of course I'm very biased. And I'm going to the launch in March in the Trinidad & Tobago embassy in London. I'll add more later.
It is out now. I think in America it will be called something different.(ah found it - Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange). The Guardian gave it a good review on Saturday:

There are hints of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea throughout Smyth's hypnotic, ee
Jan 08, 2011 Danna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange takes place in Trinidad. The story follows a young woman as she comes of age. After she is assaulted by her step-father, she flees her home and embarks on a tumultuous journey. She engages in cliche love affair with her new boss (father of the household she nannies for), and becomes pregnant. Overall, I found the book very enjoyable, although somewhat predictable (the author lays clues throughout the story) and cliche up until the end. Even though I had guessed one of ...more
Champaign Public Library
Lovely Celia leaves an unbearable situation in her home on Tobago to make her way on Trinidad. Hardworking and intelligent in some ways, she still permits herself to be used by those with power granted by their race and privilege. A soothsayer's predictions come true leading to a possibly tragic conclusion. Only three stars because I found much of the plot to be fairly predictable, but still really appreciated the simple yet vivid writing and the setting in Trinidad and Tobago. Having visited th ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Arlene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This book was another one of my Read Around the World selections. It is set in Trinidad Tobago and tells the story of a young woman who is alone except for her aunt, cousins and evil uncle. As Celia grows up it seems that bad luck follows her like a shadow. But how much of the bad luck is caused by Celia herself? Sometimes I wanted to just shake this character and say, " Wake Up, these people are using you!" A short but engaging book, I found myself musing over Celia and wondering if she ever le ...more
Crystal Belle
definitely some good writing throughout the novel and it takes place in trinidad and tobago. it was nice to read about an island that is so close to home for me. however, the main character goes through so many "bad luck" phases, it is hard to read this book and have one moment of happiness. towards the end there were many, many twists and turns which turned a novel that started off so strong into an intense soap opera. but according to my mother, this is the epitome of island life...i guess so. ...more
Theresa Powers
Aug 27, 2011 Theresa Powers rated it really liked it
This was very compelling. The content created some mixed emotions toward the main character. She seemed like a lost soul to me just trying to find her way through life. I did not always agree with the choices she made, because there was a lot of hurt created for the characters around her. However, that was precisely what made this book interesting. I was riveted throughout. The setting was in the tropics so I became fascinated with the culture,food, and landscape as well.
Foi pelo título que veio até mim, uma amiga gostou e ofereceu-me. Gostei da tropicalidade, da descrição das paisagens, dos cheiros e dos sabores, mais do que a história. Apesar das inúmeras descrições, é uma leitura rápida, não fossem alguns acontecimentos que me parecem demasiado detalhados e irrelevantes para a história e seria uma leitura bastante fluída. Ela é capaz de gostar, vou partilhar.
Debut novel by Irish-Trinidadian writer Amanda Smyth, about a young, mixed-race Tobago girl who leaves her home for Trinidad in the 1950s to make something of her life. A skillfully written and engaging book, if a little too careful, and therefore ultimately somewhat bloodless and underwhelming. With a detail of the haunting painting "Grande Riviere" by Peter Doig as its cover illustration.
Nov 23, 2009 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-2009
"I believe you follow your life, Celia. You don't lead your life. It's a mistake people make. We're not that powerful or important." (p. 99)

This was a good novel, but not a great one. The life that Celia follows was easily predicted from the beginning of the book.
Aug 31, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book told a story that I've read many times before. The only difference was it took place in Tabago and the main character Celia was brave enough in the beginning to leave her home after she was raped.
Mar 17, 2017 Beth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2011 Howard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really quite liked this book but I also had some issues with it. Firstly it is written in a quite simplistic almost childlike way, initially this is because we are hearing the voice of Celia as the first person. This voice didn’t mature however as Celia grew older and instead retained its childlike quality, I actually really liked the way it was written but it did make the novel feel a bit sparse. I’m actually engaged to a Trinidadian and I understood a lot of the references to the flora, faun ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Ape rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-america
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amanda Smyth was awarded an Arts Council Grant for this, her first novel.
'Black Rock' is set in Trinidad in the 1950s and the details of life on the island which has just become independent from Britain is excellent. The language used throughout the novel is very authentic, the reader can almost hear the rhythm in the character's dialogue.
Celia is the heroine of the novel. She is living in Tobago with her Aunt and her step Uncle and their two children. Her mother died in childbirth and she doesn
Gijs Grob
'Black Rock' speelt zich af in Trinidad & Tobago in de jaren vijftig, toen het nog een Engelse kolonie was. Hoofdpersoon Celia vertelt over haar jeugd tot aan haar negentiende jaar. (view spoiler) ...more
Debbie Boucher
May 20, 2013 Debbie Boucher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another novel written by a Trini. I picked this one up at my last book club. I would be willing to read this author again when she comes out with a new book. She writes well and captures the essence of TT. There were a few confusing things, however, like trying to find this book so I could rate it on Goodreads. I guess the original title was Lime Trees Can't Bear Oranges. When I read the review, I realized it was the same book, and that the title had been changed to Black Rock when it came out i ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a satisfying read! This seems like an Oprah book to me--wonder if she's heard of it yet?[return][return]Celia grew up in Tobago with an aunt because her father ran off to England after her mother died during childbirth. Always an outsider, Celia then has to deal with a handsy step-uncle who eventually rapes her. But Celia isn't one to give in. She runs away toward her aunt, but gets sidetracked by a sickness that leads her to working as a nanny for a rich family. Celia lives up to the witch ...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
Apr 06, 2013 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a disturbing scene early in this novel so readers perhaps need to brace for it.
Amanda Smyth has written the classic story of abused power and trust. Through her eyes we see how a girl's psyche may be captured both by force and by seduction. And we see the avoidance of responsibility disguised as blame.
This is a deceptively powerful novel. The setting is somewhat exotic, though often breaking into the mundane. The "understory" was not completely predictable and came as something of a sur
Dani (Pen to Paper)
I was torn between giving this 4 or 5 stars, so I think the better rating would be 4.5. It lost marks with me because I could see the twist coming for a while before it actually happened, and all that happened with me then was that I was proven right. There wasn't really any surprise in that for me. This did kind of detract from my rating a little.
Otherwise I felt the story was fairly original, although slightly reminiscent of The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and I have never come across a nov
Feb 27, 2010 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is, in many ways, the ultimate book club book... there's a young girl who is driven to make her way in the big city when her uncle "does something unforgivable." Once there, she gets entangled in relationships, has her heart broken, learns important life lessons, eventually returns home, and learns about the shocking twist that puts the rest of the novel in a new light.

Unfortunately, I don't care for book club books, and just reading the first few chapters and the last few pages was enough
Feb 07, 2010 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book !!! The story is about Celia and her search to find her place in life. She is an orphan, and is constantly wondering about her real mother and father. I seems that she finds herself the victim of men in quite a few instances. Of course, she falls in love with the man who cannot love her back, while the other man in her life would do anything for her, but she does not love him back. Isn't that always the way it goes ? The story takes lots of twists and turns, but I was quite surpr ...more
Sandra Hinds
Apr 23, 2010 Sandra Hinds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew from the moment I saw the title of this book that it had to have a West Indian connection and it did...Trinidad and Tobago to be precise. Having lived there for 4 months I could identify with the people and places. Celia's story is so sad, she's never truly happy and always searching for something. She asks herself more than once "what to do, what to do" and you really wonder what she IS going to do. Her innocence was stolen when she was 16 and she never got over it. This is a good read e ...more
Amanda Smyth zit met dit boek een prima debuut neer. Een mooi verhaal in zijn eenvoud. Een verhaal over de koloniale wereld in de jaren vijftig, en hoe het voor een vrouw was om in die tijd op te groeien. Je krijgt als lezer een goed beeld van de setting en Smyth voert je op een gedreven wijze mee door het verhaal. Een roman over liefde en verraad, vertrouwen en wantrouwen.

Zie voor mijn volledige recensie:
Morninglight Mama
Jan 16, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I got pulled into this novel quickly and with little fanfare. There's something straightforward and unassuming about this book and its characters. Even though Celia has much to be pained about in her life, she shows very little emotion throughout the course of the story, and the narrative in her voice is quite frank. With a soothsayer's words spoken to her as a child opening the book, her path in life is clear to the reader even when she doesn't see it coming. Smyth writes beautifully, making th ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Khrys rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great story. I always endorse Caribbean books....

However... I was disappointed with the lack of Creole.... Even the idioms were foreign (out if frying pan into the fire?)... I couldn't identify with much other than the food and places...

Also there were a few little things that just did not fit with our culture/history.... E.g. "the seventh grade" , We never used the grade system in Trinidad and Tobago until recently and only in private foreign-run schools. It should have been 5th standard (the
Kjersti Egerdahl
Similar to The Wide Sargasso Sea in the pervading sense of doom in hot climates, and particularly the doom of pretty girls, this book manages to seem like a cliche behind a relatively engaging storyline. Headstrong Third World girl is oppressed by men and becomes independent once she's had a baby and can live happily ever after by living only for her child. I liked reading it but I wish it boiled down to more than that.
This was a good book, the entire time I read it felt like deja vu, I feel like this is reminiscent of another book I read, I cant quite put my finger on the book, but at best felt it was a combo of Sula by Toni Morrison and America's Dream by Esmeralda Santiago. If anyone can relate to the feeling of deja vu or has a closer comparison to another book I'd be very interested in hearing that...otherwise, good, predictable read.
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