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'Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel Hardcover – April 22, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 344 ratings



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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* On Trinidad, in 1943, Marcia Garcia, a splendidly talented, 16-year-old seamstress, is struggling to feed young twin boys left in her charge. Remarkably accomplished first-time novelist Francis-Sharma makes it clear on page one that Marcia is strong, courageous, and resourceful. She is also French, Portuguese, Spanish, black, and beautiful, and she has a galvanizing effect on a young, confident Indian policeman, Farouk Karam. Their love should have been joyous, and they should have been able to raise their four children in harmony. Instead, their relationship is poisoned by racism, poverty, gossip, and corruption. Farouk’s parents vehemently object to their relationship, Marcia conceals horrific family secrets, and the obeah woman Farouk goes to for help betrays them. Francis-Sharma’s consummate portrayal of her stubborn, conflicted characters subtly illuminates the rigidity and treachery of Trinidadian society. Yet when Marcia goes to America in 1962, after her oldest daughter gets tangled up in a dangerous plexus of politics and drugs, she is confronted by far more brutal forms of prejudice and abuse. Francis-Sharma’s spellbinding, intimately detailed, psychologically lush, and suspenseful tale of racial and sexual trauma, hard work, love, and family devotion makes personal the injustice people endured in the years leading up to the civil rights movement in both multicultural Trinidad and segregated America. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Marcia's story, told lovingly in this, Francis-Sharma's debut novel, is as universally touching as it is original.” ―The New York Times

[A] remarkably accomplished first-time novelist. . . .Francis-Sharma's spellbinding, intimately detailed, psychologically lush, and suspenseful tale of racial and sexual trauma, hard work, love, and family devotion makes personal the injustice people endured in the years leading up to the civil rights movement in both multicultural Trinidad and segregated America.” ―Booklist (Starred Review)

“You'll hear the calypso music in this vivid debut about a spirited seamstress and devoted mother with a family secret.” ―People

A saga ripe with heartbreak and joy . . . Francis-Sharma delivers a rich and satisfying debut on the ties of family, love, and culture.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Have you ever met a family whose every tear, every triumph, every heartbreak made your heart leap? I could not put this book down. An unforgettable journey. ” ―Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of the New York Times bestseller Wench

“Lauren Francis-Sharma takes us to the island of Trinidad, the ‘Land of the hummingbird,' in a story that feels like a song, with a chorus of voices across generations, revealing a culture as vibrant and enriching as it is overlooked by those on the mainland.” ―Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

“Lauren Francis-Sharma is a true story-teller.‘Til the Well Runs Dry burns through its telling like the best gossip, but has the controlled mystery of a fairytale. This narrative is surprising, winding and always gratifying.” ―Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning

10 Titles to Pick Up Now” ―O, The Oprah Magazine

'Til The Well Runs Dry is unforgettable. Like the best poetry, it has all the high notes: a beautiful girl, a spell that leads to love and death, and a terrible secret -- in language pierced with the cries and colors of the West Indies. But this is not just a story; it's the author's retelling of her own origins. Sweet, brutal, and unsparing, this is Lauren Francis-Sharma's first book, yet she commands the page.” ―Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Deep End of the Ocean

An evocative and emotionally resonant family saga with one of the most compelling heroines I've met in a long time. A story of love, loss, and triumph set in a world of secret and moral consequence. Like the Obeah woman in her story, Lauren Francis-Sharma has cast a spell that refuses to release me. I won't forget this story or the voice of this wonderful new writer any time soon.” ―Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader

“‘Alone, I sat on the sand and took in the beauty of my grandmother's land' was the reason Lauren Francis-Sharma gave for writing her remarkable debut ‘Til The Well Runs Dry. I was swept away by this thunderous, witty, and deeply soulful novel about family, Trinidad, secrets, porch sitters, dirt roads and passion. And so satisfying, like the first time I read my aunt's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.” ―Lucy Anne Hurston

“A first novel, yes. But balanced with experiences, imagery, and characters that linger on the flesh. Eyes. In the heart. And as I read the last paragraph and closed the book, I knew that I had experienced an amazing journey of light. Thank you my dear sister for this wonderful book.” ―Sonia Sanchez, poet and writer

I devoured ‘Til the Well Runs Dry in three short nights. I couldn't wait to get back to the stories and the characters who I almost didn't want to be fiction, because I cared so much about their ever-after. I found Lauren Francis-Sharma's world, so familiar to me, a place with hidden corners hiding deep secrets I couldn't wait to unravel and then to have my breath pause as they revealed themselves in ways I couldn't imagine. Her story might be about a girl from Blanchisseuse, but above that it is an extraordinary story about a misunderstood girl who knows how to stand her ground.” ―Victoria Brown, author of Minding Ben

“With an intense voice, Lauren Francis-Sharma draws us into old Trinidad, weaving a classic immigrant's tale, punctuated with the heady scents and rhythms of a bygone time, carrying us to the new world.” ―Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of A Tiger in the Kitchen

“Lauren Francis-Sharma's debut novel, 'Til the Well Runs Dry, illuminates a complex and beautiful Trinidad… [And] at the heart of 'Til the Well Runs Dry is Marcia Garcia's delightful, eccentric story of several decades, several children, much resilience, many secrets, romance, and harrowing immigration. In 'Til the Well Runs Dry, Lauren Francis-Sharma has gone looking for her own personal history and has written as well an important narrative celebrating the African and South Asian people who created Caribbean culture.” ―Breena Clarke, bestselling author of River, Cross My Heart and Angels Make Their Hope Here

“Francis-Sharma's breathtaking debut . . . is as stunning as the artwork on the cover. She creates a heroine in Garcia that readers will root for--and remember fondly. This story of one woman's journey of womanhood and discernment is not to be missed.” ―Sergie Willoughby, The Network Journal


Product details

  • Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (April 22, 2014)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0805098038
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0805098037
  • Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.34 x 1.29 x 9.46 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 344 ratings

Fearless and inspiring
Discover Black voices on Audible. Learn more

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
344 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

TC
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't want to stop reading!
Reviewed in Canada on March 18, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great page Turner
Reviewed in Canada on March 9, 2016
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IDD
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in Canada on September 28, 2015
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Navi
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on June 21, 2015
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Gloria
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on February 22, 2016
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