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A round-up of our latest reviews

Firstly, we have three reviews of Wife by Tiphanie Yanique.

The first is by Martyn Crucefix for martyncrucefix.com on Tuesday 30 August:

'Proving to be a clever ironising of the book’s epigraph from Coventry Patmore’s The Angel in the House (“She casts her best, she flings herself”), the book turns out to be a babel of different voices, casting perspectives across the territory of heterosexual relationships from dating to divorce, via sex, marriage, marriage counselling, children (a bit), broken families and glimpses of modern forms of marital happiness. [ . . . ] the collection is the fruit of much writing and accumulation of materials: the overall impression is of Yanique’s impressive range of experience and imaginative projection, her reluctance to side once-and-for-all, as suggested by those poems which wrestle with such dichotomies as intimacy versus individuation (‘Feminist Methodology: a found poem’) and instinct versus contrivance (‘The Falling Out’).'

The second is by Theophilus Kwek for The London Magazine:

'These are hard-hitting poems about our most intimate relationships, at once beautiful and raw with Yanique’s honest handling. Early in the collection, ‘Dictionary’, a prose poem, sets the tone: ‘wife – (European origins) a married woman. As in slave in the house. As in chef, maid, nanny and prostitute. But unpaid for these services.’ The rest of the book, like the rest of this piece, challenges our ideas of what words like ‘home’ and ‘family’ mean. Complex historical and rhetorical traditions underpin each poem, taking us into Christian allusion (‘Therapy for a Messiah Complex’, ‘Altar Call’) or colonial history (‘A Slave in the House’, ‘Traditional Virgin Islands Wedding Verse’), but always with an eye to the daily tragedies of domestic relations in the present. The last section, ‘Words (Last, Fighting, True, Etc.)’, emphasizes especially how Yanique’s burnished diction ultimately lends this tough collection its shine.'

The third is by Shivanee Ramlochan for Caribbean Beat:

'Virgin Islander Tiphanie Yanique takes us to the altar in both the high-heeled restraint and the barefoot pugnacity of bridehood itself. Yanique is a fierce archivist of experience in these poems that confront femininity and fecundity, writing women into being who have both birthed babes and engineered revolutions within themselves. [...] Women’s work, these lyrically clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek poems attest, is everywhere — the province of both goddesses and grenade-launching female fighters of the black diasporan experience.'

Next is a review of The Merchant of Feathers by Tanya Shirley, reviewed by Montague Kobbe for The Daily Herald (Sint Maarten):

'Shirley turns out to be a deeply spiritual, if perhaps not conventionally religious, writer who finds in love, kindness and generosity traces of the divinity in everyday life.'

Another review by Montague Kobbe for The Daily Herald (Sint Maarten) is of Sounding Ground by Vladimir Lucien:

'Lucien’s discomfort with the establishment, the social arrangement of St. Lucia, translates into a form of “dread” he cannot shed, the kind of troubled consciousness that likely feeds his confrontational character and that hopefully will drive him to craft his next collection.'

Next is a review of A Little Dust on the Eyes by Minoli Salgado, written by Jaqueline Saville for The Tip-Tap of Monkey Keyboards blog:

'The story is told with gentle insistence, and the vivid images juxtapose and mingle grey Britain with colourful, exotic Sri Lanka. We shuttle back and forth in time and place, from the south coast of England to the south coast of Sri Lanka, from the present day to points in Savi’s childhood or the more recent past. Revisiting a place you remember doesn’t necessarily match up with revisiting the memory, and if you’ve been away for long enough are you a visitor or going home? Memories, stories and truth – how closely are they connected, really?'

Shivanee Ramlochan also reviewed three books for Caribbean Beat. First she reviewed The Repenters by Kevin Jared Hosein:

'Here is Trinidad like you haven’t quite seen it in fiction before: a dark-corridored hotbed of malevolence and newspaper-headlined corruption, yet shot through with astonishing glimpses of humour. [...] For those too long fed on routine diets of sun, sand, and sea settings, The Repenters takes the reader through a back-alley investigation of what makes Trinidadians, orphans, and all reckless survivors tick.'

She also reviewed The Gymnast and other positions by Jacqueline Bishop:

'The Gymnast and Other Positions somersaults off the edge of complacently told narratives from its opening story. [...] Jamaican Jacqueline Bishop presents characters and figures beset by thickets of sexual expansion and exploitation, beleaguered identity crises, gendered aggressions, and the menacingly evolutionary swathe of slavery. [...] Whether she positions them at the barre or in the full boardwalk of their pain, the writer lets these figures move and breathe with fortitudinous awareness of their range of motion.'

Finally, she reviewed The Bone Bollectors by Jacob Ross:

'DC Michael “Digger” Digson and his supporting cast, including the shrewd, slightly schoolmarmish Miss K. Stanislaus, are rendered in Ross’s unsentimental yet keenly revelatory prose as agents of justice, grappling with the interior workings of their own best-defended secrets. The first in a Camaho Quartet series, The Bone Readers spills fresh blood on pristine sandy beaches with more sharpness and sleight of hand than Agatha Christie herself.'




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