Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Land of Love and Drowning” as Want to Read:
Land of Love and Drowning
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Land of Love and Drowning

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  4,305 ratings  ·  668 reviews
A major debut from an award-winning writer—an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published July 10th 2014 by Riverhead Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Land of Love and Drowning, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Joanna T I am halfway through the book and the symbolism of the water is everywhere in this magical book. Drowning is part of falling in love...with the wrong…moreI am halfway through the book and the symbolism of the water is everywhere in this magical book. Drowning is part of falling in love...with the wrong person, with the right can be intentional or accidental. Knowing how to swim doesn't always save you! I cannot put this book down. Water is both a savior and a curse. Island life is freedom but at a cost since everybody knows all the gossip and the family histories. People love their islands but sometimes discover they need to leave in order to be truly free of their past history. (less)
Willa Tavernier I didn't find it upsetting. I find it realistic. What is upsetting is that it actually happens, and too frequently. The writer exposing this facet of…moreI didn't find it upsetting. I find it realistic. What is upsetting is that it actually happens, and too frequently. The writer exposing this facet of life doesn't upset me.

I loved how she weaves the tapestry of the Virgin Islands, from the mystical, to the desperate, to the hilarious. She really gets the complexities of nationality, race, class and colour without making these the focus of the book.

I loved this book - as I was reading it I felt constantly that this writer has to be from the Virgin Islands. It's too real - every detail. Her relationship with the Virgin Islands was explained after the end of the novel.

A very satisfying read.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,305 ratings  ·  668 reviews

More filters
Sort order
in the vivid and memorable opening scene of this novel, owen arthur bradshaw rescues a little girl from a potentially dangerous and decidedly undignified situation.

but don't start organizing a parade for him just yet, because he is certainly no hero to little girls, especially when it comes to his daughter eeona, and his behavior towards her has looong term consequences.

this is a multigenerational historical/magical epic taking place in the virgin islands spanning from 1916 through to the 1970s. it follows the bradshaw famil
Folks, I am going to do for you what I wish someone had done for me and warn that there is a very disturbing storyline in this novel.

(view spoiler)

I was disappointed becau
Aug 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
Normally I would still rate a book even if I didn't finish it because it would be obvious what I thought of it. However, this book I'm pretty sure deserves five stars but I just can't do it. Either I'm not in the best head-space right now or I'm not smart enough but whatever, I can't finish this book. I mean, I could totally keep reading but all I'm doing is reading words on a page and nothing is connecting or impacting me. I've been thinking about this really hard and here's the deal:
1. Writin

A-Z Challenge AND PopSugar Challenge with Karly and Jess

A book set somewhere you have always wanted to visit - Land of Love and Drowning
Y = Yanique, Tiphanie

2 stars

I don't have much to say about this one. I didn't like it at all. The writing is good so a bumped it up a star but the storyline just didn't captivate me and the icky beginning just wouldn't go away. The two main characters, sisters, orphaned at a young age are shallow and vane and what emotions they do have are over the top and borderline crazy. Plus there is a lot ofTiphanie
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, riot-read
This is one of the most important books I've ever read. I was enlightened on the history of the US Virgin Islands in a unique and mind-bending way while being told an amazing story. The island culture is interwoven in this narrative rich in magical realism, social struggle, American history, and immense beauty.

These universal issues are dealt with in the story of two sisters who view the world through completely different eyes. Eeona, the eldest, is dangerously beautiful, damaged from an unhe
Mocha Girl
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Read By RodKelly
Land of Love and Drowning is a novel set in the beautiful US Virgin Islands, filled with lilting, poetic sentences, wonderful metaphors and descriptions. However, the lush, lyrical writing does nothing to save a plot that is convoluted and ill-conceived at best. The characters in this family saga are terribly flat, and the arc of the story is ruined by repetitive writing and a constant foreshadowing of events that ultimately leaves the novel bereft of any dramatic tension. I never once felt that ...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-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 l
This book is so mesmerizing. You know that an author is a great story-teller when, despite the fact that you don't necessarily understand or feel comfortable with the story in its entirety, you don't want to put the book down or rush through all of it. Tiphanie Yanique's writing is captivating and evocative, and also disturbing at times.

"Land of Love and Drowning" is a story about a family and a community undergoing pivotal changes, the full consequences of which won't be understood
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
This book stumped me. It’s a bit of an anomaly – a highly literary novel, a fable-come-to-life, a political commentary, a family saga, a love story. Frankly, I just don’t know what to make of it.

What compelled me to continue reading was the brilliance I saw in the author’s ability to write in metaphor and weave symbolism and myth throughout. Clearly, Tipahnie Yanique is an accomplished writer with prestigious poetry and literary awards to her credit.

Poetry is, after all, about telli
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
My first impression is I enjoyed the author's writing style. She told of events and happenings as though she just wanted to sneak things in on the reader. You will find yourself going back over sentences, and saying "what?" Or "damn!" She justs puts it on the page and refrains from making a big dramatic deal, and just moves on to the next sentence. I found that style quite engaging. The book makes use of the U.S. Virgin Islands as almost a character in this novel. That was clever and not always ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novel may be one of my favorites of the year. I think the great thing about this novel is how it melds together great writing, history and magical realism into a beautiful piece of art! I will warn you that there is a very disturbing plot line that may be difficult for some readers but I thought it was an interesting aspect of the novel that helped me to better understand some of the characters. I didn't find it in any way traumatizing but I wanted to mention it so you weren't surprised by ...more
Lydia Presley
If you are any sort of reader you know that there are different categories of books. There's easy, light reads that can be finished in an afternoon, there's tense, gripping reads that won't release you until you turn the last page - and even then, you struggle with moving on from them for several days to weeks. And then there's the type of book that weaves a spell around you. It slowly entrances you in a way that hides the entrancement and, when you finish it, you end up dreaming about it and fe ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
in the author's notes at the end of the novel, tiphanie yanique references the quote from Derek Walcott, used earlier in the novel to begin a new section. when asked “What makes caribbean literature unique?” walcott’s full reply: “It may seem so simple to say that it is sea. But it is the sea”. it's an apt epigraph for this book, a caribbean saga anchored by the sea. also in the author's notes, yanique shares some personal background - her own family history appears to be very present in this, her debut novel. the p ...more
Taryn Pierson
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Storytelling is a powerful thing.

I remember a woman who came to our elementary school to tell stories. We all gathered on the floor in the library. She stood in front of us empty-handed. No book anywhere in sight. I was both a very literate and a very visual child, so it confounded me that this woman intended to tell us a story without reading it from a book. Where exactly was the story going to come from?

And then she opened her mouth, and I forgot everything but the sound of her voice. Someon
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I imagine will get a lot of critical acclaim. It was superbly well written with just enough of the island dialect peppered in. The book was well written with beautiful, enchanting descriptions of the island and well defined (female) characters. The male characters were somewhat indistinguishable from each other.

The book is a multi-generational tale of the Bradshaw family who lives on the American Virgin Islands. It begins as the islands are transferring nationali
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Jan 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned

I wouldn't have picked up this book if it wasn't picked for a buddy read by a friend of mine.

I will say that the writing style was interesting enough, and I wasn't as bothered by the patois as some, though it did take some getting used to.

And I was interested in the political and racial themes, and the crises of identity portrayed in the story as the Virgin Islands are brought under the "wing" of America.

But the focus of the story - the family d
Trisha Leigh
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
There was something spellbinding about the setting that, once ensnaring me, refused to let go. It's not a book where the characters or story will win you over, but one that feels as though you're living inside its pages all the same.
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An epic family saga that will definitely appeal to Marquez lovers, especially those who liked his "One Hundred Years of Solitude".
(warning: this review might include a little bits of spoilers)

Through different individuals and families, Yanique manages to sew the story and history of the Virgin Island, its historic convergence to Britain/US, and how that affected the lives of its inhabitants a generation after another.

One of the most influential islands in this story
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I got this early review copy from Library Thing's Early Reviewer program and read almost the entire book on my flights yesterday. This book really reminds me of "Till the Well Runs Dry", which I recently reviewed, although I liked that one better. This is the author's debut novel, and it's clear that she really knows how to tell a story. I loved her writing, it really captured me. I also liked reading a book about some of the history of the U.S. Virgin Islands, including some real stunning setti ...more
Book Riot Community
This novel knocked the breath out of me when I first read it, and I’ve been thinking about it and returning to it for months since. Through a story about two sisters who lose their parents in a shipwreck and are left to navigate life largely on their own, Yanique shows us the Virgin Islands in the early twentieth century, a nation in transition viewed through the lens of a family bound by magic and curses and the simple tragedy of being human. This is a book that makes its own gravity; Yanique’s ...more

This book was my suggestion for my book club. I got into the story right away, but then kind of lost interest in the middle, only to get wrapped up in it again and then BAM. It ended. I felt it was rushed. I literally went from reading a beach scene to the page about the author. I thought my book was missing some pages. Nope. The time line in the book was off. How could one sister be in her teens when the second world war started, when she would have actua
Mar 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: recent-reads
The central story here is about two sisters: Eeona and Annette. The two are quite different in all they do. The two sisters grow up on the US Virgin Islands (Annette just after the transition from Dutch power) and their lives are molded by the forces that have created the land.

The way the story is told is, at times, fragmented, and other times, quite lucid. I liked the use of different POVs particularly when it is the collective "we" of the old wives.

The characters here are painfully flawed an
I was really looking forward to reading this multi-generational saga set in the Virgin Islands but, unfortunately, I never could get into it and the magical realism didn’t do anything for me. The story centers around the Bradshaw family and the two daughters Eeona and Annette – both very different personalities – as well as their half-brother. I found the story meandered and was difficult to follow at times between reality, myth and magical realism but I did appreciate the history of the Virgin ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
The beginning of this book was extremely slow to me. I think if the beginning had been a little more interesting I would have enjoyed the book a lot more. The middle was quite enjoyable and the end was rather lackluster. I read this primarily because the book is based in the USVI, a place I love and visited many times. French Town is mentioned and of course the beautiful Magen's Bay. Story just ok but I enjoyed her writing style. Here's hoping her next one is based in the Virgin Islands as well.
Jan 26, 2015 added it
Shelves: caribbean
one day i'll re-read this as an allegory for the capitalistic appropriation of the caribbean islands by the us of a. this time around i read it just for the story and the story wasn't my cup of tea.
Rebecca Wilson
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
I loved the innovative style and unique structure of this book. Chapters alternate points-of-view and dialects, and fortunately Yanique is a masterful writer so the story still zips right along. Lots of people talk about how "lyrical" and "stylistic" this books is, which often means that not a lot happens. That's not the case here, and craft-wise it is a real achievement. It was eye-opening and engaging, and the magical-realism elements really worked. The history of the U.S. takeover of St. Thom ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Yaniques use of language to create hauntingly beautiful imagery is impressive. It took me a while to read this book. I had to put it down a lot, but when I did, I couldn't get the scenes out of my head. She successfully transportes the reader so that one can see, feel, smell, and taste the world of the characters. And that world is often twisted and uncomfortable. I didn't know what to do with the way Yaniques language and tone romantized abusive and complicated sexual intimacies. It was often d ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I didn't have to wait very long upon beginning to read Tiphanie Yanique's critically acclaimed debut novel Land of Love and Drowning to understand what all the fuss (e.g. the starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus) was about. In under two pages, Yanique's narrative had managed to achieve (one of) the fundamental goal(s) of all storytelling: it had completely captured my imagination. This was the kind of read that exemplifies why I've always loved reading above most everything else in life(!)
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I received Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique through the Riot Read Book Club. If you’re not familiar with the Riot Read program, Book Riot has partnered with Quarterly to send out books. Members pay $25 (it started at $30) a month and you don’t get to know what the book is ahead of time. I like it because it feeds my Get Out of Your Comfort Zone need. It’s a chance to read a new author or something that I might not have picked up on my own. The first book was Landline by Rainbow Rowell, which I enjoyed ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
  • Ten Thousand Saints
  • Her
  • Myal
  • The Last Warner Woman
  • The Invention of Exile
  • The Great Glass Sea
  • Saint Monkey
  • Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)
  • The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy
  • She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks
  • No Language Is Neutral
  • Difficult Fruit
  • 'Til the Well Runs Dry
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill
  • The Story of Land and Sea
  • All That Followed
  • If Sons, Then Heirs
See similar books…
Tiphanie Yanique is the author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony. She has won the Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Pushcart Prize a Fulbright in Creative Writing and an Academy of American Poet's Prize. Her work has also appeared in Callaloo, Transition Magazine, American Short Fiction, & the London Magazine. She is an assistant professor of creative writing & Caribbean Literature at D ...more
“The idea that people who guarded you could also be the people that you needed guarding from was nothing anyone should have to learn.” 8 likes
“But they felt ancient and natural, like they were, just tonight and just here, alive in a time before Americanness. A time before any kind of ness.” 3 likes
More quotes…