Jackson’s debut novel is rich with realistically complex characters and subtle wit and wisdom as the characters understand the love of family and theJackson’s debut novel is rich with realistically complex characters and subtle wit and wisdom as the characters understand the love of family and the ties that bind them.
Two sisters, Dionne age 16 and Phaedra age 10, are sent by their mother to visit their grandmother Hyacinth in Barbados for the summer. Their mother will remain in Brooklyn to “get herself together” before the start of the new school year. Upon arriving the two sisters have a different reaction to Bird Hill, a rural and close-knit community. Phaedra, who often felt like an outcast in Brooklyn, immediately feels at home and lavishes in learning all that Barbadian. Dionne who is on the cusp of womanhood and was the one making decisions for her and her sister as her mother spiraled out of control can’t wait to get back to Brooklyn. Hyacinth while delighted to have her granddaughters for the summer and is anticipating once again seeing her daughter will find herself facing challenges she did not expect at this time in her life. But life is full of surprises good and bad and often just living is the best teacher as the three characters will learn over the summer.
Graceful prose, a well-paced plot, and crisp storytelling will keep readers enthralled.
I recommend to those who are yearning for a lovely story filled with love, laughter, and tears. A wonderful new voice in Caribbean literature and I look forward to the author’s next book. ...more
This was a 3.5 read for me but rounded up because of the author's unique approach to the storyline.
A sumptuous tale of two sisters and their half-brotThis was a 3.5 read for me but rounded up because of the author's unique approach to the storyline.
A sumptuous tale of two sisters and their half-brother entangled by magic, myth, and the pull of memory tinged with illicit love set in the Virgin Islands. This intergenerational tale covers the years 1916 when the Danish West Indies was transferred to the United States to the 1970s as orphaned sisters Eeona and Annette, often at odds with each other, forge their identities from their legacies commingled with “Americanisms” as half-brother Jacob navigates the muddy waters of lineage secrets. I liked how the use of magical realism gives the story a more unique feeling as it builds tension and moods as readers wonder if the characters decisions are of free will or the pull of the destinies. The transition between first person narrators and the third person narrator seemed choppy at times but I enjoyed how the third person narrator gave their part the feel of oral storytelling. I appreciated how the author effectively blended history, folklore, and family memoir into a spellbinding story. I recommend to readers of historical fiction, magical realism, and Caribbean history. ...more
Overall I enjoyed this short story collection. As I am not a big fan of the short story genre I have challenged myself to learn to appreciate this genOverall I enjoyed this short story collection. As I am not a big fan of the short story genre I have challenged myself to learn to appreciate this genre more. Junot Diaz is a very good writer and does so well writing in the voice of young Dominican males. He is able to write stories where you feel empathy for the characters but you really do not like the action of the characters. You feel the time and place of the stories and the reality of the character situations....more