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Land of love and drowning : a novel by…

Land of love and drowning : a novel (2014)

by Tiphanie Yanique

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3713343,726 (3.66)47



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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Oh, this was lovely. There were segments where the pacing was off and I think in particular Rebekah's character simply got abandoned, as did Jacob's, but the writing is gorgeous and Eeona and Anette are complex, well-developed characters who are allowed to be unlikable at times and extraordinarily human, and the information I learned about the USVI was also new and unknown to me. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 27, 2018 |
Set in the beautiful and enchanting Virgin Islands, this is a story of love, loss, family, and magic. We begin in the early 1900s when the Bradshaw children are small and tragedy leaves them orphaned. They must face poverty and hardship together in order to survive. Their lives tangle around those of lovers, family members, children, and strangers. They fall from privilege to poverty, rise up to self-sufficiency, face racism and war, discover magic, and fight to discover their identity and place in the world. Secrets kept in order to protect create chaos instead and bring new challenges into their lives. Beautifully written and filled with memorable characters, this story pulls you into the heart of the island. Through three generations, we journey along as a new identity is forged for the land and those who love it.

Bettina P. / Marathon County Public Library
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( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
This book is so mesmerizing. You know that an author is a great story-teller when, despite the fact that you don't necessarily understand or feel comfortable with the story in its entirety, you don't want to put the book down or rush through all of it. Tiphanie Yanique's writing is captivating and evocative, and also disturbing at times.

"Land of Love and Drowning" is a story about a family and a community undergoing pivotal changes, the full consequences of which won't be understood until everyone is knee deep in it all. It's also about how the actions of parents influence the destinies of their children, and how a father can affect the way his daughter will choose to love and be loved as she grows older.

In 1917, the Danish Virgin Islands have just become the United States Virgin Islands. This event brings about widespread hope and wonder, but it is a double-edged sword. Meanwhile, in St. Thomas the Bradshaw family's secret desires are all adding up to inevitable destruction. The resulting story is a magical blend of history, racial issues, war, family curses, ill-fated love, and Virgin Island folklore.

NOTE: The first few chapters deal with incest and are uncomfortable to read, as are the other times that the subject is brought up, but when you get through that you're in for a unique and enchanting story.

Yanique's characters are fully fleshed, complex individuals with distinct personalities (with the exception of Gertie, a character who is often mentioned but remains 1D). This book is not a light read, but rather a densely detailed multi-generational family saga spanning over half a century. It is focused mainly on the bewitching orphan Bradshaw sisters, Eona and Anette, as they try to carve out their lives on their own terms while the world surrounding them rapidly transforms. While the sisters are complete opposites, they have in common the fact that neither seems able to get what they want the most despite the advantage their beauty affords them.

Magical realism is adeptly incorporated into the story, the lush island setting is strong, and the social structure in this setting is interesting, especially as American realities begin to spill over into the islands.

I will say that the point of view switches around a lot, and at times I couldn't tell who was speaking, although Anette's defiant St. Thomas vernacular is easily distinguishable. I actually looked forward to Anette's chapters because they are so full-bodied and seem to convey a fuller range of emotion than the other narrators are capable of. Needless to say, Anette is my favorite character.

More than the actual story, I liked the author's prose and the way layers of the story unfolded. At times the writing was a little heavy, or I couldn't quite understand what was going on (for example: the spider man episode), but at those times I just sat back and enjoyed the way the sentences are colorfully strung together. This book is full of life and mysteries and in short, it's magical.

If you like this book you may also like "Til the Well Runs Dry" by Lauren Francis-Sharma. ( )
  cosiari | Jul 3, 2016 |
A fascinating read very loosely based on the author's family history. With some VI stories and myth, this novel has a touch of magical realism as well.

The story takes place in the Virgin Islands, mostly the US side (though Danish at the beginning of the novel). We see the Virgin Islands in transition--as the Americans take over from the Danish and the Virgin Islanders become American citizens, over the decades they discover their islands have been overrun with tourists and purchased by white Americans who claim private beaches.

Eeona and Anette Bradshaw, sisters, lose both of their parents within a year's time. Eeona, significantly older, raises Anette, who does not remember their parents or Villa home. Anette seems a bit wild, but with no knowledge of the Villa and life as a captain's daughter, she cannot relate to the ladylike ways Eeona wants her to follow.

So, no spoilers, but the story follows them into middle age, as they each try to make their way in the new VI.

( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
This tale is particularly if you know the USVI. The tale of the two sisters spans much of the 20th century history of St. Thomas. The elements of magical realism makes the story charming. ( )
  ghefferon | Apr 4, 2016 |
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"In the early 1900s an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea, just as the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule. Orphaned by the sunk vessel are two sisters and their half-brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them. Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world ... Following the Bradshaw family through sixty years of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, love affairs, curses, magical gifts, loyalties, births, deaths, and triumphs, Land of Love and Drowning is a gorgeous, vibrant debut by an exciting, prize-winning young writer"--… (more)

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