Christiane's Reviews > A High Wind in Jamaica

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
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's review
Dec 18, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in December, 2009

Disturbing and impossible to put down. The Henry Darger "girls" on the cover are a perfect warning for what you'll find within. On the surface it's a very basic story: after a hurricane wreaks their home in Jamaica, a group of children are shipped back to England. Their ship is attacked by bumbling, not especially blood-thirsty pirates and they are accidently taken prisoners, much to the pirates’ dismay and (ultimately) destruction. The children (perhaps because of their unusual upbringing in Jamaica? Or, more horrifying, are all children like this?) are basically feral, and that leads to several shocking events, including a major betrayal at the end back in "civilization". I found this book upsetting on so many levels: the racism, the casual cruelty to animals, the suggestion of inappropriate sexual contacts, the terrifying alien children with their lack of emotion. Yet the story is compelling and lyrically written. It's like the dark side of all those Arthur Ransome novels where the kids have these fantastic adventures without adult supervision.

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