From Publishers Weekly
When an abandoned toddler appears on the shore of her Caribbean island home, Chastity Theresa Lambkin, aka "Calamity," becomes a foster mother in her 50s. Years previously, a one time, teenage experiment with a best friend unsure of his sexuality resulted in daughter Ifeoma. As Calamity, who narrates, now freely admits, Ifeoma bore the brunt of Calamity's immaturity, and their relationship still suffers for it. As Calamity relates all of this, things that have been missing for years inexplicably reappear, including an entire cashew tree orchard from Calamity's childhood that shows up in her backyard overnight. It could be island magic, or something much more prosaic. The rescued little boy's origins do have some genuinely magical elements (Calamity names him "Agway" after his foreign-sounding laughter), and Hopkinson's take on "sea people" and how they came to be adds depth and enchantment. Agway's presence, however, ratchets up the tension between Calamity and Ifeoma (who has a lovely son of her own, Stanley). Calamity proves emotionally adroit and winningly frank in a variety of situations (the men in her life have a preponderance of issues), and Hopkinson (The Salt Roads
) gives her story a sassy, loving touch. (Feb.)
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Calamity Lambkin has just buried her dadda when the kind of tingling she had as a child just before she found something that had been lost assails her. Since she also starts getting hot flashes, she would shrug the tingling off as another change-of-life symptom, except that she starts finding lost things again. One morning she finds an apparently orphaned toddler washed up on the beach. That little boy is the strongest fanciful--magic realist, if you will--element in the earthily charming story of a woman coming to know and accept herself for the first time. As narrator, Calamity is so persuasive that, until she awakens to the ways she has frustrated herself, readers may not know that they've been dying to snap her out of them, too. She is better than she thinks, and so are her daughter, her daughter's father, his lover, the men she woos, and the old friend she reconciles with over the boy from the sea. The West Indian-accented dialogue adds sweetness and color; Calamity's cussing, spice. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved