emily's Reviews > A High Wind in Jamaica

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
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Jul 27, 11

bookshelves: book-club
Read in July, 2011

A confession: every now and then, when telling a story that took place some time ago, I find myself thinking "did that actually happen that way, or have I maybe changed it a little bit over time?" I'm not saying I'm a pathological liar, or even that I have an unusually shaky relationship with the truth. But it is (I think) not a unique situation.

Now. A High Wind in Jamaica isn't a story about an unreliable narrator. Actually, we have a merry, almost-childlike narrator who brings us and the Thorton children through an intentionally-capitalized Earthquake, abduction by pirates, various deaths and injuries, and the fairest trial anyone knows how to run. This isn't Lord of the Flies by any means -- the children aren't out to do harm and they're adapting to difficult circumstances as best they can. However. As we track the children's (and especially Emily's) reactions and behaviors, we see a gradual distortion of the truth taking place as clearly as in any book I can think of. And as innocently.

It's not an issue of the banality of evil or anything like that. It's an issue of small lies and small denials gradually building up and up and up in the most natural of ways. And it's possibly one of the best things I've read in ages.
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