From Publishers Weekly
Cond (Windward Heights, etc.) churns out novels the way the sea churns waves: gracefully, effortlessly and one after the other. Her 12th and most cathartic to date begins on the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe when the pregnant, teenaged Reynalda attempts to drown herself in the sea. Good-hearted Ran lise pulls her out, nurses her back to health and cares for newborn Marie-No lle when Reynalda leaves for France. After 10 years, a letter from Reynalda arrives, ordering Marie-No lle to join her in France. A cold and aloof mother, Reynalda spends her days as a social worker and her evenings at work on her thesis, leaving husband Ludovic to nurture their baby son and Marie-No lle. As a teenager, Marie-No lle contracts tuberculosis and spends time at a sanatorium school; later, she moves to Boston, where she attends university and marries an innovative jazz musician. No matter where she is, she can't rise above a fog of despair caused by a lack of familial identity, compounded by her feelings of displacement, and she remains preoccupied with discovering the identity of her father. But returning to Guadeloupe for the first time, she finds neither the idyllic life of her childhood nor the answers she had expected, but rather an island rife with ramshackle housing and old acquaintances who now resent her. Though Marie-No lle is constantly surrounded by idiosyncratic characters, her self-absorption contributes much to the melancholy pace of the narrative, which may leave many Cond fans longing for her earlier punchy and passionate heroines. But Cond once again proves her ability to gracefully capture the voice of the Caribbean diaspora. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This story, in French, is about one women's quest for her Caribbean roots. When Marie Noell is 10, she is wrenched from her Guadeloupe home, where she lives with her beloved caregiver, Ranelise. She is summoned by her birth mother to Paris. Elusive and very self-absorbed, the mother, Reynalda, and Marie remain estranged under the same roof. When she finally "escapes" to the U.S., Marie is determined to find the real reasons behind her mother's strident indifference to her and the circumstances of her mysterious birth. Was Reynalda the victim of a rape--as she contends--and Marie the result? There are two very different versions to this story. Marie goes back to Guadeloupe to meet and question her grandmother Nina and gets the second one. But she is no more sure than when she set out to find the truth. Although her quest takes her back and forth between three cultures, she seems equally doomed to never quite fit in any one country. An absorbing tale of a woman with questions that may never be answered. Marlene ChamberlainCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved