On the third of April nineteen sixty-seven, on the morning of his fifty-eighth birthday, Charlo Pardie rose at two o’clock as usual to go and pee, but instead of returning to his bed, he left his home – and abandoned his wife – to go to the house of a prostitute.
What brings Charlo, a peasant farmer on the edge of old age, to leave his wife, family and land and take himself to the house of Ismene L’Aube, his adopted daughter? And what, three years later, takes him home again?
Earl G. Long writes with great empathy but no sentimentality about two people who are desperate for fulfillment and choice, but who, at crucial moments in their lives, give way to their impulses or to the imperatives of the moment and pay for their decisions with an inevitability that Thomas Hardy would have seen as a truth of life.
Set in a small Caribbean island (with strong resemblances to St Lucia), where human life is always subject to the hostilities of nature, Long creates a powerful narrative of a forbidden attraction, and draws a vivid and inward portrait of a rural community with all its tensions between a desire for pleasure and a fearful sense of an all-seeing and judgmental God.