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This compelling Caribbean-set masterwork of speculative fiction explores climate change, survival, self-sacrifice and maternal love with prescient power.
Potently timely, Diana McCaulay’s Daylight Come is a Caribbean-set masterwork of speculative fiction that explores humanity and avenues of hope in the devastating wake of climate change.
It’s 2084. The island of Bajacu is under the ruthless rule of the Domins. While “dawn used to be hopeful,” the inhabitants are now “on the run from the day” as a result of the sun’s scorching strength forcing people to sleep by day and work by night. In the cooler mountains, the Toplander elites protect themselves in a hidden refuge, while Sorrel and her mother Bibi are struggling Lowlanders. On her fourteenth birthday, Sorrel makes a promise: “one day, she would find a place where it was possible to sleep in the dark and go outside all day when it was light.” Sick of their precarious, close-to-starving existence, and having heard of the Tribals, people in the island’s interior who’ve found ways of sustaining themselves and surviving the attacks of feral animals, Sorrel persuades her mother to head for higher ground.
Bibi’s narrative reveals the environmental changes that led to this situation - the escalating global effects of “melting ice, swirling snowstorms, cities swallowed by earthquakes”. Closer to home, “the crops began failing and the fruit trees stopped bearing.” Human fertility declined too, resulting in fertile women falling prey to Domin men.
During their gruelling journey, Sorrel, the girl who came into the world as the sun rose, the girl whose birth was “daylight come,” is rescued by a young Tribal woman. The Tribals have made a life for themselves in the cooler highlands, where breadfruit and coconuts still grow, where water is plentiful - bounties Sorrel has never known. Mother and daughter are taken to the Tribal elder who will decide if they can stay but, at 45, Bibi is too old. Blamed for the state of the world, and a seen as a drain, older people have no value in this society. The elemental beauty of Bibi and Sorrel’s bond is a powerful thread - how Bibi knows her daughter bone-deep and makes the most profound sacrifice for her. Sisterhood is central too, as seen through the tribe of resourceful women coming together in a society in which men and women are deeply divided. And it’s women who devise and lead the courageous, perilous act that may forge a more hopeful future.
Gritty, moving, and startlingly plausible, this exceptional novel delivers an extraordinarily powerful perspective on pertinent problems facing humankind right now (hunger, environmental ruination, deep social inequalities), but beams of hope burn through the bleakness.
It is 2084. Climate change has made life on the Caribbean island of Bajacu a gruelling ordeal. The sun is so hot that people must sleep in the day and live and work at night, all the time under brutal Domin rule. Food is scarce, and people over forty are expendable. Sorrel can take no more and persuades her mother, Bibi, that they should flee the city and head for cooler ground high in the interior. She has heard there are groups known as Tribals who have found ways of evading feral animals and surviving up there. Diana McCaulay takes the reader on a tense, threat-filled odyssey as mother and daughter attempt their escape. On the way, Sorrel learns much about the nature of self-sacrifice, maternal love and the dreadful choices that must be made in the cause of self-protection.
|Publication date:||24th September 2020|
|Publisher:||Peepal Tree Press Ltd|
|Collections:||30+ Unforgettable Books by Caribbean Writers - Book-aneers of the Caribbean, 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction - Women’s Words,|
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Like the best science fiction, Daylight Come isnt just fiction but a warning of a very possible future. Kei Miller
Sadly, nothing in this powerful glimpse of a possible future strains credulity; we could be building precisely this planet. Its readers, I hope, will be moved to take action right now, while we still have time to avert some of the damage. And I hope they will be moved, too, by the gritty evocation of unity across difference that allows effective resistance. Bill McKibben
This driving narrative explores important issues of climate change from a non-European perspective. An important book. Ingrid Persaud