Jean Buffong Snowflakes in the Sun

ISBN 13: 9780704344235

Snowflakes in the Sun

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9780704344235: Snowflakes in the Sun
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From Kirkus Reviews:

Mostly painful reminiscences of British life--as offered round the dinner table and out on the porch in a Caribbean setting more vivid than the anecdotes shared there. Grenadian author Buffong (Under the Silk Cotton Tree, 1993) does luminously evoke the close ties among people on Grenada, with the balmy climate and warm sea (always close enough for a swim) contrasting violently with Aunt Sarah's and Uncle Dolphus's tales of life in England. The couple never felt warm there, even in summer, were subjected to crude racial prejudice and endured demeaning jobs, like cleaning latrines, were paid lower wages for the same work whites did, and suffered frequent insults or unprovoked attacks. Though tempted often to leave, the two met and married over there, then stayed on until they were eligible for a pension and had saved enough money to buy a piece of land back home. Now in their 70s, they raise animals and grow vegetables, selling the surplus in town. But the past's pain is still alive and real. Their stories, often interrupted by comments from neighbors and relatives, are recorded by Dorothy, Aunt Sarah's favorite niece, who, intrigued by the elderly couple's experiences abroad, spends most of her time with them. Dorothy, like the other listeners, is fascinated with England, the place where so many islanders go in hopes of a better life. But the tales they hear describe a hard cold place where the neighbors don't greet one another and the ``people didn't laugh at all and when they laugh it never sounded like a laugh and the sun never felt like the `real sun.' '' Not riveting stuff, but the very ordinariness is the appeal--in reminisences that are able to comfort and also sustain families when they get together. A quiet amble down memory lane that instructs as well as entertains--gently, a little. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Buffong, a Grenada native who has lived in England since 1962, has previously written a novella, Jump-Up-and-Kiss-Me (1990) and a novel, Under the Silk Cotton Tree (1992). Her new novel tells the story of a couple reflecting on their life together. Now in their 70s, Uncle Dolphus and Aunt Sarah have come home to Grenada, where they tend their garden by the sea, watch the tourists come and go, and entertain friends and family with stories of their many years spent in England. Their memories, both funny and sad, demonstrate the difficulties of living in and understanding an alien culture. Buffong's lilting style conveys the rhythms of Caribbean life and language. Readers willing to tackle the unfamiliar dialect will come away with the sense of having spent time with two charming people. Nancy Pearl

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