Harper Perennial £7.99 (451pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 0870 079 8897
Pynter Bender, By Jacob Ross
Friday 05 June 2009
In this nicely dreamy debut Grenada-born novelist Jacob Ross tells the history his homeland through the eyes of a ten-year old boy. Born blind, but later cured, Pytner is known by his peers as "Jumbie boy".
A quiet, scholarly sort, he can see past the sugar-cane horizons of his childhood to a different kind of future. His grandmother, Deeka, also foreseeing civil unrest, keeps a tight check on the young men in the family, keeping them safe from jail and drink.
Alongside the unfolding insurrection of the Seventies, Ross paints a tender picture of Pynter's female-centric boyhood. He watches as his mother and aunts wash, cook and cut cane, the energy sucked out of them by sun and hard work.
Patois, poetry and politics come to the rescue, though as we know from any number of number of Caribbean classics, life in paradise is rarely sweet.
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