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A Flying Fish Whispered

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

First published in 1938, Elma Napier’s A Flying Fish Whispered is both of its age, and way ahead of it. To some extent, it’s a sexually-charged tale of doomed love between two white plantation people in the colonial tropics. But to see it solely as such is to do Napier an injustice, for this novel also tingles with the author’s environmentalism, and delivers a critique of colonial rule, demonstrating divisions between white plantation owners and workers who are exploited, disregarded and treated as an underclass. And all this is delivered with an undercurrent of proto-feminism through the character of witty, outspoken Teresa. 

 

Teresa also gives voice to the author’s deep love of her adopted home. Born in Scotland, Napier devoted her life to Dominica, becoming the first woman elected to any Caribbean council after settling on the island in 1932, and her autobiography also comes highly recommended - Black and White Sands takes readers on an entertaining journey through an exceptional, unique life. In this novel, an elemental connection to the island’s nature, and to the environment, is fabulously expressed by Teresa when she remarks, “I love the forest, you see, and the mystery of never knowing what’s round the next corner.” And then the author adds, “Everywhere, the world over, men have cut forests that they snatch food from the soil; and now the soil flees from them.” Seminal stuff, indeed.

Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers.

Joanne Owen

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Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
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