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How to Escape from a Leper Colony: A Novella and Stories Paperback – March 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
A relief to read this kind of thoughtful exploration of life in the Caribbean islands, especially St. Thomas.
When I finally got around to getting it I was surprised and delighted by the freshness of the author's point of view. The stories have the usual points of interest but are tinged a the unique taste of humor. Spicy but not too hot. Great!
However, I'm left with nothing but a bitter taste after reading Leper Colony. I feel that there is an overwhelming bitterness to all the stories and characters and I find that very difficult to reconcile with real life. Typically, I find any fiction that is full of hard to like characters (and non-sympathetic ones, at that) difficult to read. Of course, there are hardships and sadness in life - but there seems to be a thread of utter despair and hopelessness that just leaves me cold and completely apathetic to the characters.
Furthermore, while having the diversity of cultures and character identities found in Leper Colony is admirable, it creates for me an unauthentic voice for all. Each story feels contrived and forced. Even, and especially, much of the dialogue is written poorly, in my opinion. It all seems so affected and overdone. I can appreciate the points that Ms. Yanique may have been trying to make about race, class, culture, and social struggles. However, it feels as though these stories were written as an experiment - "let me see how many issues I can write about in this short story"...so that every sentence and paragraph is fraught with an insincere heaviness. Perhaps if any one story were longer, and given the opportunity to develop over a longer period of time and the stories were able to evolve more subtly, I would feel more inclined to embrace this book.
Unfortunately, I just find very little to like or enjoy about any of the stories in this collection outside of the occasional well-written turn of phrase or scattered beautiful sentences or thoughts. And, I really wanted to like this new Caribbean voice. Ultimately though, this book just did not work for me at all.
there are characters here that are sharply drawn for short stories: cooper, xica, pinky, anexus corban and father simon. stand out stories for me are: "The Saving Work," "The International Shop of Coffins," and "Kill the Rabbits."
i am eager to read a novel by this eloquent writer.