Monday, March 31, 2014

'Til the Wells Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma

Review based on ARC.

Oh man, how even to review this one.  I signed up to get this one because it had something to do with Trinidad.  That was really all that motivated me.  Otherwise, it sounded kind of trite... ya know, "multigenerational" "multicultural" "blah blah blah."  But my mom is from Trinidad and, unlike the author of this book, I have NOT heard much from her about her home-country.  I was hoping the book might give me even the slightest of inside looks... And boy did it.

I would not describe this book as "multigenerational" or "multi-cultural," even though those are both accurate descriptions.  The issue I have with those phrases is that they tend to accompany stories that don't offer much else beyond the obvious "that generation doesn't get it" dynamic or "look how different and yet the same these cultures are!"  And those can be fantastic books, but I find that relying on the cheap tricks often make the story seem... well, a little cheap.

That was NOT the case here.  Lauren Francis-Sharma created a compelling, interesting, fast-paced, deep, involved story with an undercurrent of.. like, gut-truth.  I didn't feel as if I were reading some fantasy creation of someone with no idea of what real life was actually like.  I felt like... I felt like I was maybe sitting at a kitchen table somewhere with someone's grandmother who was telling the story of her life.

And what a story.  Ever so briefly:  Marcia Garcia ("Mah-see-ah Gah-see-ah") lives in "the Bush" in Trinidad (i.e., the wrong side of the tracks...) with the boys she cares for.  Her mind is nowhere near romance or the other frivolities of life when Farouk spots her and determines he must have her.  Farouk is, of course, from the right side of the tracks, but he's young and impulsive and makes no mind of the potential cultural impact of his choice.  And so begins Marcia's life.

I mean. It covers so much ground. Years, peoples, families, children, parents, siblings, crime, countries, slavery, passion, anger, etc. etc. etc.  And Francis-Sharma manages to give each element her full attention.

As with all truly excellent books, describing it too much would do it injustice.  This truly excellent book is being sent to my mom... maybe we can have a little Trini discussion once she's read it...

Highly recommend!  For all of the reasons indicated above and because it's just a good book.

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