Young, sea-loving Lily (n e Harriette) is aptly nicknamed after a floating flower. A Bajan high school drop-out, she subsists passively in her grandmother’s house at the sufferance of a stern, fundamentalist task-mistress, one who malignly sees in Lily her lost, promiscuous, “wutless” mother. Adrift, born into an “island paradise” which offers few choices to her kind, she must nevertheless identify, then gain the grit and spiritual wherewithal to make them, if she’s to escape an out-of-control life of serial beatings at the hands of her first “man,” the charismatic, brutal, and finally murderous Goldie (Colvin) Edwards. Through the counsel of her appalled friend Sophie and the wisdoms of a pair of beach Rastas encountered beside her beloved Caribbean, she slowly learns not only that she is, indeed, a lovely flower, but The Rock she must leave via the freedom of primal yet navigable waters, has been the stumbling block set before an unloved female self. With a brilliant ear for both dialogue and dialect, and a great gift for ensemble scenes, Canadian-Bajan novelist Nicole Blades plants us firmly on the soil, not of the tourists’, but of the natives’ contemporary Caribbean.
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