"...richly entertaining. Walcott-Hackshaw offers a vigorous, at times sizzling, prose that is grounded in local rhythms and allusions to the culture that is at once both the object of her love and also her main target."
Arnold Rampersad, Trinidad Guardian
Ruthie’s academic success has been Mrs. B’s pride and joy, but as the novel begins, she and her husband Charles are on their way to the airport to collect their daughter who has had a nervous breakdown after an affair with a married professor.
Loosely inspired by Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Mrs. B focuses on the life of an upper middle-class family in contemporary Trinidad, who have, in response to the island’s crime and violence, retreated to a gated community. Mrs. B (she hates the name of Butcher) is fast approaching fifty and her daughter Ruthie’s return from university and the state of her marriage provoke her to some unaccustomed self-reflection. Like Flaubert’s heroine Mrs. B’s desires are often tied to the expectations of her social circle.
Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw writes with wit, with brutal honesty and with warmth for her characters, but the novel questions how far the Butcher clan’s love of Trinidad as place – their hedonistic pleasure in their holiday houses “down the islands” – can carry them towards a deeper engagement with their fellow but less privileged islanders.
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Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw is a Senior Lecturer in French and Francophone Literatures in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.