Like Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, Althea Prince’s new novel beautifully traces a woman’s struggle to negotiate the transition from life in the Caribbean to life in the concrete utopia of urban North America. Sayshelle, her mother Reevah and her aunts Sage and Juniper Berry stand at the centre of this breathtaking new novel. Loving This Man is about Antigua, about politics and class, but more than anything, about the mother-daughter bond that exists in these women’s lives. The Antiguan section of the novel describes Reevah’s relationship with her husband Emmanuel, whose fiery political beliefs are silenced by a tragic early death; Sage’s failed relationships with Rogain and Rommel, men who use and control her, to the point where she allows her daughters to suffer; and Juniper Berry, headstrong and forthright, who divorces her first husband and stakes her claim on Clifford, a man she senses she has known in a previous life. In the novel’s second section, Sayshelle has moved to Canada, where she makes a life for herself against the background of historical forces such as the Black Power movement, the feminist revolution and the Vietnam War. Sensuous, specific in its evocation of Toronto and Antigua, Prince’s novel is a must for anyone who follows Black Canadian, Caribbean and Post-colonial literatures.
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