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review 2017-05-21 20:55
Nor Any Country by Garth St. Omer
Nor Any Country - Garth St Omer

This novella is only 96 pages long, plus a laudatory 20-page essay about the work by one Jeremy Poynting. (I was puzzled by how a work no one had a word to say about on Goodreads could have the sort of academic following implied by this essay, until a Google search revealed that Poynting is its publisher.) The book follows its protagonist, Peter, as he returns to his unnamed island home (presumed by the publisher to be St. Omer’s home country of St. Lucia) for a brief visit after many years of study abroad.

Unfortunately, where Mr. Poynting saw subtle brilliance, the novella seemed to me mostly a mundane catalogue of Peter’s wandering about the island conversing with various people; his role in the conversations consists largely of creating a sense of his own superiority by saying little and smiling often. While visiting, he must decide what to do about the wife with whom he had no communication during his years abroad, but the narrative does little to show us how he arrives at his choice. Mostly Peter, while traveling about the island, simply ruminates on his European ex-girlfriends. There’s precious little narrative momentum in any of this, and little to interest the reader in the protagonist. Some of the supporting characters seem more interesting, but have limited room to breathe in such a short work.

As for the writing itself, it is adequate but sometimes lacking in clarity; numerous times I had to re-read passages to figure out what the author was trying to say. Written in the 1960s, the book seems to assume cultural understanding that a modern, non-Caribbean reader is unlikely to have: while racial politics are quite important in this setting, readers are left to deduce the race of almost all of the characters on their own (and I’m still not sure about Daphne).

All that said, this is a very short book that will leave readers somewhat more informed about the issues facing a society in a particular time and place. While the lack of clarity sometimes slows down the reading, large amounts of dialogue should keep readers from getting too bogged down.

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review 2013-07-21 20:58
Mary's Land
Mary's Land - Lucia St Clair Robson The ship Charity sails from England bringing a group of people, among whom there are some very different women. One is a guttersnipe who has been masquerading as a boy. The other is a catholic woman who is determined to get religious freedom and a new life. It's not the worst read but it also could have been helped by keeping with one character and getting into more detail of their life. The language was occasionally a bit strained but it didn't bore, it just didn't enthrall me.
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review 2012-04-05 00:00
Last Train from Cuernavaca - Lucia St. C... Last Train from Cuernavaca - Lucia St. Clair Robson A fairly interesting historical novel set in and around Cuernavaca and Mexico City during the early twentieth century. Three major characters and a beliveable romance that actually is romantic. Plenty of adventure, and try not to read the author's note until you finish the novel itself, it's worth it. Four stars overall, despite the simplistic writing style. Recommended, and my entry for Mexico in the around the world challenge.

For the longer review, please go here:
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review 2010-08-21 00:00
Ride the Wind - Lucia St. Clair Robson My favourite of the various books that Ms. Robson has written. Don't be fooled by the cover -- this is not a romance novel by any means. It's smart, intelligent and based around a real story -- that of Cynthia Ann Parker.
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review 2010-08-21 00:00
The Tokaido Road - Lucia St. Clair Robson Sadly, this one I could not finish. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get into this one.
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