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Tide Running

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Cliff and Ossi have grown up in Plymouth on the island of Tobago, their lives turning on the axis of small-town life. One day they watch the arrival of a couple and their child at a luxurious house overlooking the ocean. The couple invites Cliff into their home and lives, and in that cool'flim-style' house, the harsh, brittle life of urban Plymouth is kept briefly at bay, ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published June 15th 2004 by Beacon Press (first published May 25th 2001)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  98 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
It took a while for this book to sort of get to the point. The first few chapters is just descriptions, and so I put it down. Once I picked it up again, I enjoyed seeing how the story progressed - but after about the middle, it didn't seem like the story was going anywhere. And that's where I think this book fails. It's also difficult to read if you don't understand the dialect.
Roger DeBlanck
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Even though this novel is a challenge due primarily to the tough Caribbean dialect that dominates the narrative voice, the story possesses a raw beauty, and it addresses harsh truths about society and class. The central plot explores the limits to which love, lust, and trust can be stretched. The story begins with lavish descriptions of Tobago and the sea. We meet Cliff Dunstan and his close-knit family as they struggle daily to get by in one of Plymouth’s rougher neighborhoods. In particular, C ...more
Suzanne Bhagan
This story explores the darker side of Tobago life, especially the relationship between locals and visitors. It follows the experiences of Plymouth boy, Cliff, who embarks on a sexual relationship with a rich, privileged couple staying in a vacation home there. The book raises questions of race, class, and privilege and explores the stereotypes beneath the facade of the relationship. It's heavy on Trinbagonian Creole so take your time with it.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Took a long time to get to the story. Then didn't really go anywhere. It was more about descriptions than story.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading the world in books: Guyana.
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, there was no point to it, it's rambling and written from a Jamaican dialect but I think it adds to the charm. I've never read anything like it before.
Really enjoyed this book and the writing style was addictive, but I felt the ending left a little to be desired.

I felt like I learnt quite a lot about Tobago 🇹🇹.
Jonathan Billings
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this hard going with its mix of regular English and the local Tobagonian idiom. Not sure I really enjoyed it as it didn't seem to really be going anywhere. I'd certainly not be in a hurry to pick another by the same author but if given a copy I'm sure I'd work through it.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
In some ways, I really enjoyed this book--particularly the evocative setting. But the dialect and prose interfered with my understanding of the plot and characters, and that was frustrating. I probably read it too fast.
Mark Franklin
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best and most accurate book I've ever read that's set in the Caribbean. Having lived in the region for almost twenty years, I found it both charming and alarming but most of all, beautiful and honest. Love it.
Mary B
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't know exactly how I feel about this story. I felt a very strong pull to keep reading because I thought there would be something else to connect me with the many characters there was a sense of disconnection through to the end.
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Oonya Kempadoo is a writer who was born in Sussex, England in 1966 of Guyanese parents. She was brought up in Guyana and has since lived in Europe and various islands in the Caribbean.

Her first novel, Buxton Spice, was published to great acclaim in 1998, and was nominated for the 2000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second book, Tide Running (Picador, 2001), set in Plymouth, Tobago,

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“Just visiting from Trinidad, we could have never seen the darkness of this island. The strength of it overpowered and silenced you. Only after moving here did the calm become unsettling. Traces of resentment glowing under the skin of proud faces, in the gait of mobile bodies. The house, our holiday haven from Trinidad city life, seduced us into its womb, promising peace of mind, crime-free living, and the blue Caribbean Sea. Once Peter’s work in Trinidad had finished, we moved. And now the haven sheltered us from things unknown and deep. Always mothering, giving space for mistakes and meditation, watching over our sleep.” 0 likes
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