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How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  987 ratings  ·  231 reviews
A debut novel in the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, from a brilliant Caribbean writer, set in Barbados, about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called "paradise."

In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed ex-pats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 21st 2021)
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
What are secrets but things we want to forget?

I was yesterday years old when I discovered this existed . . . .

Turns out I’ve read nearly all of their selections. And not only read them, but liked them all as well.

I won’t lie and say I immediately knew How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House was going to be a winner for me. I didn’t really remember what it was about when I started it – I just remembered I had an ARC. There were MANY characters and the timeline did the wibbly wobbly to p
The story opens with a Grandmother telling her daughter a tale about two sisters, a good sister and a “bad” sister. The bad sister went to a place she was told not to go to because there were monsters and got one of her arms bitten off, leaving her with one functioning arm. The Grandmother told this story to her granddaughter as a cautionary tale, but with every cautionary tale there is one brave persons wanting to see for themselves.

The real story of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
After listening to “How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones (narrated by Danielle Vitalis), I don’t want to go to Barbados. This story takes place in fictional Baxter’s Beach, a place that attracts wealthy tourists. And Jones shows the seedy underbelly of the upscale vacation land. I’m sure most tourists notice the poverty that most Caribbean islanders endure, whether that be Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Antigua, etc. The wealth of the visitors must spark anger in the islanders, ...more
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
The intriguingly named “How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones is one powerful and raw debut novel, that is both heart wrenching and brutal and not for the faint hearted.
Set in Baxter’s Beach Barbados, we see both sides to this beautiful tropical island. The views and thoughts from the tourists visiting their place in paradise and through the eyes of the local Bajans, poor and jobless and living in ramshackle houses, in an often violent and brutal environment.
This is a story
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown &Company for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel set in Barbados tackles themes of poverty, domestic abuse, drug trafficking and the relationships between mothers and daughters. Admittedly, it took me a while to become comfortable with the multi-character narrative but I did pick up the rhythm eventually. In the end, I gave this 3 stars.

Publication Date 02/02/21
Goodreads Review 14/02/21
Basic B's Guide
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Trigger heavy for domestic abuse this felt like it was trauma after trauma. I went into this one with high expectations and the writing is stunning in this debut but my heart just hurts. Having listened to the author on GMAs Instagram tell us 3 reasons to read her book I felt like I was unprepared for the darkness.

The audiobook narration was haunting and intoxicating. Just guard your hearts and make sure you’re in the right headspace for this story.
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I loved this book. It was better than I expected, but I don't really know what I was expecting. I listened to the audio version and I found the narrator's voice to be both haunting and intoxicating. I was immediately sucked in. That being said, this book is filled with *a lot* of trauma. It was difficult to read, but so well written and so important. ...more
Callie Browning
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her house primarily tells the story of Lala Primus, a young woman whose life bears curses and trauma that she isn’t even fully aware of. The name of the book is derived from a legend her grandmother tells her to scare her; one which will eventually lead to her literal salvation.

This Caribbean book shines an unflinching light on issues that affect people from all races and ethnicities and doesn’t shy away from dispensing the very real possibilities of these issues
Monica **can't read fast enough**
I was fortunate and received an ARC of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones and I am so happy to have been able to read this debut early. Jones has created complex characters facing hardships, abuses, and obstacles in a way that is heart wrenching. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House begins with events that are hard to read and immediately pulls you into the center of an event that sets the tone for the entire book. The writing is beautiful while telling stories that a ...more
Daniel Shindler
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cherie Jones has written a powerful debut novel that seizes your attention and never lets go. It tells the story of several generations of two Bajan women, focusing on the unbroken cycle of poverty, violence, racism and despair that continuously repeats itself.The protagonist, Lala, is a teenaged bride who is married to a petty criminal,and is pregnant at the story’s outset. Through a tragic incident Lala is inextricably linked to Mira Whalen, a Bajan Redleg who has escaped poverty by marrying a ...more
Diane Yannick
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to rate this book much lower. After some thought, I decided that I couldn’t bash a book due to my discomfort. I was uncomfortable because of the violence and abuse these characters experienced. It was UNRELENTING. Perhaps like living a ghetto life in Barbados. I wanted some relief from the suffering and in my world that would be possible. So Cherie Jones, a writer/attorney in Barbados effectively took me where I didn’t want to go. I almost became a reader who said, “This book is ...more
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Let me state this now, I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much. I had high hopes, but this book surpassed them in every way. It is absolutely one of my favourite reads of the 2020, there is no doubt about that. It was in my top 10 of the year for 2020. It’s the book I’ve been recommending to everyone. So I’m absolutely recommending it to you. It’s brilliant. I don’t want to say to much about the plot of this book, I want you to experience it for yourself. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps ...more
Susie | Novel Visits
I knew very little about 𝐇𝐎𝗪 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐎𝐍𝐄-𝐀𝐑𝐌𝐄𝐃 𝐒𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐒𝗪𝐄𝐄𝐏𝐒 𝐇𝐄𝐑 𝐇𝐎𝐔𝐒𝐄 before listening to it, but I did know that with a title like that it had to be engaging, and boy was I right. Debut author Cherie Jones tells the story of Lala, a hair-braider and new mother from Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, a lovely spot for tourists, but not as much for locals. Lala finds herself married to Adan, a petty criminal (and maybe more) who also happens to have a violent streak that Lala regularly sees up close and pers ...more
Jessica Haider
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bipoc-author, fiction
Set in a small beach community in Barbados in the mid-1980's How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House tells of the relationships & clashes between the locals and the rich tourists & ex-pats. One night after an attempted robbery at an ex-pat's mansion goes bad, a number of events occur that leave several lives shattered.

I enjoyed this one! The audiobook was great. This was the author's debut novel and I will be following her to see what else she writes.
Liz Hein
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
How The One Armed Sister Sweeps her house starts with a parable relating to the title and comes full circle so beautifully- that’s one of my very favorite things in fiction.

This is the story of both ex-pats and locals in Barbados and a violent incident that connects them all. We see very different sides of life, and much of this book is excruciating to read as it is an exploration of generational trauma and its impacts on families. This plot moves, and I don’t want to say too much about it as i
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goodness, that was emotional, especially the last few chapters! A story so full of tragedy, you wonder how anyone can ever pick up the pieces to move on with life. An absolutely brilliant debut.
Nicole (Bookiesandtea)
The title intrigued me in picking this up to read. I listened to it on audio and the lyrical style of writing was prominent throughout.

The story revolves around the haves and have nots in a Caribbean tourist town. There are several POVs but the main character is Lala.

Lala is a woman who is abused by her husband and works as a hair braider to the tourists. One night afraid she is losing her baby, she goes off searching for her husband. After hearing a gunshot, she finds him running out of one of
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5/4 stars

This story was told in the tone and with a flare that is markedly Caribbean, with themes and characters that felt very real in how they dealt with and carried their lot in life. The lies, relationships, and abuse are situations that most from the region will be able to understand and empathize with.

Content warning for domestic abuse, rape, and death of an infant.

In a word, this story is gripping. From the cautionary tale of the tunnels, I was invested in how this would unfold and was
Feb 06, 2021 rated it liked it

First thanks to @netgalley and @harpercollinsca for providing me with an ARC. This book just came out this last week on Feb 2.

This is Jones’ debut novel and it packs a punch. It follows four people in Barbados who are each desperate for different things. The book begins with a grandmother telling her granddaughter about two sisters — a good one and a bad one — the bad who went somewhere she wasn’t supposed to and got one of her arms bitten off.

The book takes place in the early 80s, with flashba
Jael Richardson
Jan 27, 2021 added it
Shelves: q
Wonderful story set on Baxter's Beach, Barbados. Murder, madness, mystery. Unique narrative voice. ...more
Joey Rajewski
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book considering the beautiful cover & it left me feeling blah. A heartbreaking & depressing read with subject matter including rape, infidelity, abuse, kidnapping & murder. The struggles these characters suffered were almost too much to bear- one step forward; two steps back story struggling to find hope for any of these characters. I listened to the audio for this book. I may have enjoyed it more if I read it.
Dinah Moore
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-hb, gma-book-club
Bravo @cheriejoneswrites !
Excellent debut.
The characters are woven and presented in an unforgettable way. Not once did I have to turn back and remember anything about Wilma, Peter, the first Mrs. Whalen, Tone , Sargent Beckles.. I know them.
I think it speaks to Jones’ talent that she has illustrated a complete story without being overbearing with the details.
I have mostly mentioned characters but this is a plot driven book that centers around the cycle of abuse.
I don’t want to spoil this tale fo
Megan Tristao
Oof. This is the type of story 2015 Megan would have loved. And it was an excellent book, but there was so much trauma, so make sure you're in the right frame of mind to pick it up. The book follows several characters in the aftermath of the murder of a white tourist in a small beach town on Barbados. I particularly appreciated how the author occasionally included chapters about other minor characters in the story, or went back in time to explain certain characters' childhoods or experiences of ...more
Randi (readsrandiread)
I’ve sat with my feeling on this book (audiobook: thank you @librofm for the ALC!) for a week now and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it or how I’m going to rate it. ⁣

For starters, let’s tackle how it’s being promoted as a “gripping thriller.” Yeah, no! This is not thrilling, it is not exciting or nail-biting. This is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching from beginning to end. To me a thriller is entertaining, this is not entertainment, it is deeply affecting however. The trigger warn
Leslie - Shobizreads
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wow! This book was intense but a great read. Lots of triggers including murder, sexual abuse, death of an infant, domestic abuse.

I listened to the audio format and had a little trouble keeping track of the characters and details but it also really did come alive being heard in the characters Jamaican voice and accent.

If you love messy, complicated characters looking to escape their current circumstances, here you go.
Richelle Robinson
This book was heartbreaking, brutal and depressing. I felt bad for all of the characters even Adan. I need a nice fluffy read after this book. I listened to the audiobook as I read a long and certain phrases were altered so keep that in mind if you read and listen like I did. For a debut book this was well written, captivating and I look forward to reading Cherie Jones next book!

Rape, abuse, death of a child, murder of a spouse.
Katherine Hatcher
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“If it does not make a baby cry but it makes you cry then how much of a woman are you” -Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House

No spoilers review!

We primarily follow Lala, a young Barbadian woman, as she begins bleeding and birthing her first child, running out of the house to try to find help because her husband is nowhere to be found. It seems as though we will focus on the story that follows the sequence of events of this night. But we then find the origins of the tragedies we
Stephanie Jane
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-americas
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I already had two strong contenders for my January Book of the Month, but then I read How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and was absolutely blown away. This Barbados-set novel is unflinching in its grim portrayal of intersecting lives in a Paradise that is beset more by horror than bliss. The story begins with the recounting of a folktale of two sisters - one good and obedient, the other determined to go her own way. Of course, the own
Emily Bourque
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Thoughts: Oh man this book. I've read a lot of heavy books this month, with a lot of trauma, so I was a bit worried when I realized that this was another book that featured trauma pretty heavily. But this book surprised me. It shocked me, and it kept me guessing. I was surprised by the twists it took, and surprised by how much I felt for all of the characters (except Adan, he can go somewhere). More than anything, this story was masterful in the way it unfolded; it's obvious the
Reneé Wallace
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars rounded up. I NEEED a copy of this book when it comes out! I listened to the audiobook and while the narrator is British she did a pretty good job.
Set in Barbados we mostly follow Lala and we see the ripple effects of violence in various forms, love and loss. Its a hard read but a gripping story, told from multiple viewpoints and spanning over generations.
The ending felt rushed but i still thoroughly enjoyed this.
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Cherie Jones is an award-winning author from Barbados. Her debut novel HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE has been critically acclaimed by several publications including the The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post and is Good Morning America's Bookclub pick for February, 2021. Cherie's past publication credits include PANK, The Feminist Wire and Eclectica. She is a past fe ...more

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