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You Alone are Dancing

Written by Ruth Pavey for The Observer on no date provided

Whether with their hibiscus, hurricane, or their history, the Caribbean islands force themselves upon their writers. Not content to be mere settings, they demand an active role. Two novels from a small company specialising in Caribbean literature make this clear. The themes of Lakshmi Persaud’s Butterfly in the Wind and Brenda Flanagan’s You Alone are Dancing although quite different, share a vital sense of place. It is part physical, part historical. These books could not have been written about anywhere else.

In You Alone Are Dancing Brenda Flanagan is writing of a generation, of the first inheritors of independence. Her fictitious Santabella is beginning to stagger under the weight of foreign exploitation and corrupt home government. Rosehill, a ruined cocoa estate, has been squatted so long that until oil-drilling becomes an issue no-one questions the squatters’ rights. The gloves are off, the bulldozers in, and the rain is making everything worse. In the messy struggle for communal survival a young woman comes to the fore, discovering how far she can rely on her boyfriend.

This is a review of You Alone are Dancing

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