Saturday, August 1, 2015

Amazon's Book Reviews: Caribbean Authors — Amanda Smyth

Amanda Smyth is Irish/Trinidadian. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at UEA in 2000. Her short stories have been published in New Writing, London Magazine, and broadcast on Radio 4 as part of a series called Love and Loss. Her first novel is Black Rock. Read more:

This is a review for Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth - Celia has never known her parents. Her Aunt Tassi tells her that her mother died in childbirth, and her father, an Englishman, went back to England. And so the only home Celia has known is the modest home of her Aunt Tassi in Tobago. She lives there with her annoying younger twin cousins Vera and Violet, and to make matters worse, Aunt Tassi marries an alcoholic named Roman who makes her uncomfortable. Celia has a lot of potential. She's pretty and smart. Her school teacher tells her she should plan to go to university - that she can be anything she wants to be, but when step uncle Roman corners her alone at home one day, Celia knows she can't stay there any longer. She runs away to Trinidad, with the intention of finding her Aunt Sula, who has visited her a few times in Tobago. In Trinidad, she eventually comes to believe her luck has changed when she finds a job caring for the children of a doctor and his wife, but soon she is forced into an affair which threatens to rip apart a family, and break her heart. The writing in this novel is beautiful and even those who have never been to this part of the world, will be able to picture it as if they grew up there. The author did well to create a main character who is not perfect, (and thus not at all boring), but with whom you easily empathize with. Over all the story is depressing, but the ending is optimistic enough that you close the book satisfied. Read more:

This is a review for The A Kind of Eden by Amanda Smyth - A Kind of Eden. A sort of hell. Martin Rawlinson is a stranger in a strange land, an Englishman in Trinidad, and he is relishing it. He has asked for his temporary consultancy position with the Trinidad police to be made permanent, and is hoping to start a new life with the beautiful Safiya, and perhaps grow to understand this intoxicating, troubled country. His only problem is breaking the news to his wife, Miriam, and daughter, Georgia. While Martin has found a new life in the Caribbean, Miriam counts down the months to his return, aware of, but not understanding, the growing distance between them. She and Georgia escape the English winter to visit Martin, and - Miriam hopes - to reclaim him. The week that follows will change everything, but not in the way any of them planned: they will learn how close paradise is to hell. A mesmerising, claustrophobic novel that illustrates how fragile the ties that bind can be, Amanda Smyth immerses us in a moral dilemma with no answer - how can you forgive yourself for compromising what you love most? Read more:

This is a review for Black Rock by Amanda Smyth - "Black Rock" is Amanda Smyth's début novel. It is set in the British Caribbean colony of Trinidad and Tobago in the mid- to late-1950s, and tells of the coming-of-age of black teenager Celia D'Abadie, raised by her Aunt Tassi, and living with her twin cousins Violet and Vera, and Tassi's good-for-nothing second husband Roman. Celia's tale is not a particularly happy one and she seems to be stumble along from one bad situation to another throughout the book, but Amanda Smyth's writing is so evocative of not only the teenage mind but also the place and times in which it is set, that everything flows along quite naturally and believably, keeping the reader captivated all the way to the very end. Read more:

Bocas on Campus 2014 - Amanda Smyth video by IGDS UWI
St. Augustine Unit

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