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The Pirate's Daughter: A Novel Paperback – August 5, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Cezair-Thompson conjures the tragic glamour of golden age Hollywood against the backdrop of lusty, turbulent Jamaica in her dual generational coming-of-age saga. Ida Joseph is 13 years old when Errol Flynn is nearly shipwrecked off the coast of her hometown of Port Antonio in 1946. Flynn instantly loves Jamaica and, eager to find a refuge from stateside scandal, purchases an island across from the port. Navy Island becomes the setting for his glittering parties, movie projects and affair with Ida in her senior year of high school. Flynn refuses to take responsibility for the resulting child, May, and after trying to make a go of it in Jamaica, Ida leaves May and heads to New York City, where she marries a wealthy baron friend of Flynn's who purchases the island after Flynn dies. May grows to adulthood on Navy Island, develops something more than a crush on a married family friend 40 years her senior and indulges in drugs and free love. Jamaica's tumultuous progression toward self-governance—with the violent chaos it unleashes on Navy Island—reveals certain hidden truths about the baron. For all the high drama, the reader never feels fully privy to Ida or May, but Cezair-Thompson otherwise succeeds magnificently in evoking a world distant in both time and place. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Jamaica-born Margaret Cezair-Thompson, a creative writing instructor at Wellesley College and author of The True History of Paradise, knows her native islandâs physical, political, and social landscape well. Her historical epic, which spans the years between the end of World War II and the 1970s, sets a motherâs and a daughterâs coming-of-age stories against this lush countryâs tensions of race and class. While most critics thought that both imagined and real characters (think Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe) sparkled, a couple accused the author of portraying self-absorbed, uninteresting stereotypes of Jamaicans; others cited a few too many plot coincidences. Neverthelessâ"especially in Mayâs Treasure Cove, a book within a bookâ"Jamaica comes alive in all its tropical splendor.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
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The book is quite gripping and a page turner (after the first few chapters). I am disgusted by Errol Flynn and went on to read online biographies about him to see what was in fact truth in the book. Of course, being a Jamaican and knowing Navy Island, I did know that part was true.
The biographies also confirmed that he is in fact a pedophile and had he been living today, he probably would be sharing a jail cell with that other disgusting man they recently arrested in Switzerland - is it Polanski.
Good story though!!
Cezair-Thompson knows just where to place a metaphor to evoke a vivid sense of place -- whether that be through the deafening sound of rain on a corrugated zinc roof or the view of the dark night sky billowing above like a sheet of cloth -- but her writing is restrained, not overloaded, and the style never interferes with the compelling story she is telling. She is also a virtuoso with the Jamaican dialect, and (as in her first book -- The True History of Paradise) she slips effortlessly in and out of a dazzling range of linguistic registers.
"The Pirate's Daughter" raises fascinating questions about identity and belonging, and never far below the surface are serious issues of race and class. But Cezair-Thompson never preaches. She has the restraint to allow political questions to weave through the book in a way that is provocative but not simplistic. Her characters have complex racial identities but they are never reduced to them, and they contradict their own principles in ways that mirror the complex histories and behaviors of real people.
This book is a shimmering delight to read. I wish someone would make it into a movie. The glamour and beauty of the characters and the story (and the book's sheer sense of style) belong on the screen. One of the most pleasurable reading experiences I've had in a long time.
Most recent customer reviews
"The Pirate's Daughter" fits so many categories and is a hard-to-put-down read.Read more