Dan's Reviews > Brown Girl in the Ring

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
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Feb 15, 09

bookshelves: 2009

i think i responded to this more on account of what i learned from it than on the merits of its prose... which isn't to say it's not an enjoyable novel. it's just a bit flat in a few areas, story-wise (atmosphere, characterizations).

the premise is an interesting one. brown girl in the ring concerns a post-apocalyptic toronto, in which a young mother learns to use her caribbean spiritual roots to bring down a local drug dealer. as sci-fi, it's not terribly concerned with alternate realities. in fact, it feels stylistically closer to magic realism, and the "speculative" side of its premise isn't explored in great detail. i wish it left me with a stronger sense of place, to be honest. instead, the scope is mythic, and the characters are somewhat archetypal. there are clear cut heroes and villains throughout, which can feel static and lifeless at times. still, the fable-like structure maintains a certain reverance, and i finished brown girl with the suspicion that a deeper knowledge of caribbean/voodoo/yoruba spiritual practices might have changed the experience dramatically. the book is more concerned with mythology than psychology, perhaps.
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