Friday, January 24, 2014

Amazon's Book Reviews: Caribbean Authors — Oonya Kempadoo

Oonya Kempadoo is a writer who was born in Sussex, England, in 1966 of Guyanese parents, her father being the writer Peter Kempadoo. She was brought up in Guyana and has studied art in Amsterdam. She has also lived in Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Tobago, and now lives in Grenada. Her first novel, Buxton Spice, was published 1998. The New York Times described it as "superb, and superbly written". Her second book, Tide Running (Picador, 2001), set in Plymouth, Tobago, is the story of young brothers Cliff and Ossie. Both of these books were nominated for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards, the first in 2000 and the second in 2003. She was named a Great Talent for the Twenty-First Century by the Orange Prize judges and is a winner of the Casa de las Américas Prize. Her third novel All Decent Animals was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2013. Read more:

This is a review for Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo - Kempadoo is a true poet, and although BUXTON SPICE is billed as a novel, it is really more a collection of dances in which the poetics of language play a great part. With more and more literature appearing that does not follow the tight storylines of old, perhaps it is time for us to come up with another word to describe books such as Kempadoo's that are not-quite-novel, not-quite poetry, and not-quite-short-stories. Never mind that we don't have an official category for Kempadoo's fiction. It is strong enough and musical enough to dance on its own power. A series of short collage pieces show us a series of small moments that become suddenly huge in the life of a girl child in Guyana in the 70s. It is about early and uncomfortable awareness of race, sex, age, disability, and of the unpredictibility of politics. Kempadoo writes beautifully and naturally of sex. This is a strong point of hers, and it serves her well. The sex actually creates a sort of tension on which all of her stories ride. Oonya Kempadoo is young and she's talented. What she has done in BUXTON SPICE with language can most certainly be done again with a different theme. One can only wonder what Kempadoo will write about next. Will it be Guyana or England or . . .something entirely from her imagination? This is an author to watch. And, in the meantime, to read. Read more:

This is a review for Tide Running by Oonya Kempadoo - This novel about a poor young Tobagon man and his encounter with a wealthy couple who draw him into their lives, blithely, without considering the consequences, is one of the best portrayals of contemporary Caribbean life I've ever read. Brilliant, sensual, and ultimately disturbing, Tide Running is, like Kempadoo's first novel, Buxton Spice, an exploration of the effects of class and wealth on a young nation trying to come into its own in the shadow of its wealthy neighbor to the north. Read more:

This is a review for All Decent Animals by Oonya Kempadoo - I downloaded a sample of this book to try it and when I was done, immediately bought it. Right there, as I sat in the doctor's office, waiting. Fantastic book. If you are not a West Indian or familiar with the lifestyle or vernacular of the region, you might miss the references or the nuances in the book. It will be a nice read anyway. If, however, you are a West Indian, from any island or territory, you will enjoy reading this well-written, thoughtful book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I loved it from start to finish. Tried to pace myself so I wouldn't finish it too quickly but then gave in. Completely authentic. Totally enjoyable. Read more:

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