Sep 29, 09
I *hated* this book. Let me tell you why: this novel read like this: look at this poor, uneducated island, and these poor, noble-savage ignorant and simple black people who are caught in the middle of a violent conflict between the savage black rebels who will eventually sell you out and the even more savage redskins (no joke, "redskins") who terrorize you, rape you, and machete you into pieces they will then feed to a pig. The violence, indeed, the whole setting, seemed wildly superfluous. The novel was like the literary version of that horrific Mel Gibson movie "Apocolypto" (or however you spell it) which was basically a 2 hour long version of "ooooh, look at the savages and how savage they are! Aren't they savage!!". To add insult to injury, the only "civilizing" force on the island is a white man who sprinkles down the magic of white civilization, imagination, and joy by reading Great Expectations. Look, I loved Tale of Two Cities, but Great Expectations? Come on. Someone needs to tell this author we've moved on from Colonialism (or at least we try to pretend we have). We call it "Post-Colonialism" now. We don't write about people of other races as though only we and our white civilization can save them, like they are only there for us to be saved, like they are only brutalized victims or brutal victimizers. And we definitely don't do it while self-righteously clinging to Great Expectations as a panacea for human understanding. Very "Shakespeare in the Bush" only without the actual intentions of finding anything out about the power of literature, instead it just reads as the power of the white ego.