A brilliant Jamaican-American writer takes on the themes of colonialism, race, myth, and political awakening through the experiences of a light-skinned woman named Clare Savage. The story is one of discovery as Clare moves through a variety of settings - Jamaica, England, America - and encounters people who affect her search for place and self. ...
A brilliant Jamaican-American writer takes on the themes of colonialism, race, myth, and political awakening through the experiences of a light-skinned woman named Clare Savage. The story is one of discovery as Clare moves through a variety of settings - Jamaica, England, America - and encounters people who affect her search for place and self. The structure of No Telephone to Heaven combines naturalism and lyricism, and traverses space and time, dream and reality, myth and history, reflecting the fragmentation of the protagonist, who nonetheless seeks wholeness and connection. In this deply poetic novel there exist several levels: the world Clare encounters, and a world of which she only gradually becomes aware - a world of extreme poverty, the real Jamaica, not the Jamaica of the middle class, not the Jamaica of the tourist. And Jamaica - almost a character in the book - is described in terms of extraordinary beauty, coexisting with deep human tragedy. The violence that rises out of extreme oppression, the divided loyalties of a colonized person, sexual dividedness, and the dividedness of a person neither white nor black - all of these are truths that Clare must face. Overarching all the themes in this exceptionally fine novel is the need to become whole, and the decisions and the courage demanded to achieve that wholeness.
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Publishers Weekly, 1987-06-05 This book gives lyrical expression to some harsh truths, using a series of vivid flashbacks to highlight key moments in a young woman's lifelong quest for moral absolutes. Born into a light-skinned, landed family on the island of Jamaica, Clare Savage is compelled to inhabit a world that shifts between the demands of the black and white communities. Her adolescent years are spent in America, where her ambitious father encourages her to seize the opportunity to pass for white. Later studies at an English university further her feelings of alienation and she determines to return to Jamaica to seek her identity and her island heritage, a move which leads her to political activism and eventual tragedy. Though well-written and thoughtful, the novel focuses exclusively on Clare's difficulties, making no attempt to recall the small moments of triumph or joy that occur in even the most dismal lives. Without these, the protagonist seems a symbolic icon rather than a creature of flesh and spirit. Her journey toward selfhood seems more significant than the character herself. (July 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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