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'Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren…
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'Til the Well Runs Dry

by Lauren Francis-Sharma

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12419153,195 (3.93)6
"An epic saga about a Trinidadian family spanning WWII to the early Sixties. Told in alternating voices, the author recounts the story of Marcia, our fierce heroine, who leaves her island home in order to protect the man she's loved for years, and finds herself isolated in a strange land but with the determination to survive and rebuild" --… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I loved this book from page one. The author effortlessly describes Trinidad and its diverse people with such rich detail that I felt like I'd been there before. The voices of the characters rose off of the pages and into my ears. The trials that this tragically fractured family go through are very sad but there is beauty in the story as well. I connected with the characters and even felt protective of them like they were my own family. The things that kept it from being a full 5-star book to me are that some of the characters' actions made no sense, and plus the ending didn't feel complete. It's one of those endings that leave you wanting more. Nevertheless I highly enjoyed reading this book. I took my time with it because I didn't want it to end. I hope to see more from this author. ( )
  cosiari | Jul 3, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There's something a little bit exotic, a little bit magical about Trinidad. And it's not a place that appears often in fiction, or at least not in fiction that I've read. So I was intrigued by the setting of Lauren Francis-Sharma's debut novel set mainly in Trinidad, capturing life on the island, and filling in little bit of the history and politics of the mid-twentieth century as Trinidad moved towards independence and self-governance. But more than a Trinidadian story, this is a family story, a strong woman story, a mother and children story all told with the unique flavor of the place.

In 1943 in Trinidad, Marcia Garcia is just a teenager raising two small boys she calls her brothers and trying her best to keep food on the table for the three of them. She is a talented seamstress but her family obligations weigh on her and prevent her from being as successful as she might otherwise have been. Marcia is a beautiful mixture of many of the races of people on the islands and she catches the eye of an Indian police officer, Farouk Karam, who becomes enchanted with her to the point that he visits an Obeah woman whose black magic and herbs can guarantee him that he will find his way into Marcia's heart. Although their relationship starts under the cloud of the disappearance of Marcia's twin brothers, they quickly come to find happiness together. Marcia falls pregnant and she and Farouk marry. But his proper, successful family is horrified by Marcia and Farouk denies her and accuses her of actually being the mother of the two missing boys she loved so dearly and having an incestuous relationship with her father. Despite his family's vocal disapproval and these terrible allegations, he cannot quit her so while they remain married, they never do live as husband and wife; Farouk visits only occasionally, enough for them to produce four children, Patsy, Jacqueline, Wesley, and baby Yvonne. Marcia struggles along, working to support her growing family, persevering despite hardships. At the same time, Farouk is rising in the police force, seeing corruption and vice within the ranks, even extending to Marcia's powerful, wealthy, mostly estranged uncle who is high up in government. And when there is a huge scandal, it leaves no one in the family untouched.

The heat and magic of the island is coupled here in the novel with the subsistence and borderline poverty in which Marcia and the children live. Within these pages, there is the Trinidadian version of voodoo, the political corruption of the 1940s through the 1960s, drugs, prejudice, education and the drive to better one's lot, and above all the importance of family. Marcia is strong and a survivor despite the terrible hand she's been dealt by life. She, Farouk, and Jacqueline, their second daughter, each narrate portions of the story, sharing their hopes and dreams and the reality of their lives. Much of the dialogue is in a sing-songy dialect but once the reader gets used to it, it is easy enough to follow. When the story takes Marcia to the US, the plot becomes disorienting and a little confusing but that mirrors Marcia's own experience as an immigrant, abused, held captive, and taken advantage of. Trinidad plays a large background role through most of the book but when Marcia finally leaves it, her desire is not for the land of her youth but for her family, for them to join her and to make a new life with her. Francis-Sharma has captured a dysfunctional family in all its ups and downs, the fates that hold it back, and the ways in which each character is always a part of the same fabric even when life doesn't go quite as planned. The story is well written and if there's no happily ever after but instead a concession to reality, it feels true and genuine and possible. ( )
  whitreidtan | Dec 2, 2014 |
Love and marriage go together like - oil and water? This is a strong examination of a lifelong relationship whose failures due to past family backgrounds make for miserable outcomes for all.

Marcia and Farouk are Trindadians, Farouk a policeman born of
a proud and well-to-do Indian family (there are a large number of Indian families in the Caribbean). Marcia's politically powerful uncle has raped the girls of the family. It's like a thunderclap when they meet. Farouk's family disowns him and he is betrayed by his supervisors and by his eldest daughter's affair with a drug dealer. Marcia, a talented seamstress, is lured to the United States with the promise of well paid work, and ends up leaving her beloved island and her children, with disastrous consequences for all.

The novel is suffused with the everyday Trinidadian routine of food, friends, magic and spells, the ocean and backwoods hamlets. This is the second Caribbean novel I've read this year (the other was Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique) and I am hoping that many more will be forthcoming as we learn of the beauty and hardship that belies the cruise ship façade. ( )
  froxgirl | Oct 22, 2014 |
Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma is literary fiction with a punch. The novel takes place in Trinidad and also in America.The novel is about family. There is Farouk, the father, of Wesley, Patsy, Jacqueline and the baby girl. There is also the mother, Marcia Garcia. Farouk does not live with the family. Marcia Garcia is with her children through thick and thin. However, when the seemingly most important and emotional event happens to her baby girl she is not there. Marcia Garcia does leave the best instructions she can with Jacqueline in case something unforeseeable happens in the family.

This makes sense. Although Jacqueline is not the first born, she is always available to help her mother raise the family. Family roles can not be dictated. Patsy is the first born. She lives her life the way she wants to live it. Patsy is the first of the children to meet failure head-on, and she keep on going. Then, there is Wesley, the brother and son. He takes after Mama Marcia who is a seamstress. He loves to sew and sews well. Only when Wesley sews does his life speak loudly.

Life is a sewing project. Wesley and Marcia Garcia and the other members of the family, a Trinidadian family, are striving to sew their lives together. There is no wrong way or right way to approach the pattern. There is only one way. The personal way chosen by a particular person. In other words, I can do it this way and not that way. Take me or leave me, but my family will always love me. laurenfrancissharma.com/ ( )
  Tea58 | Sep 11, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Francis-Sharmaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Turpin, BahniNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Our hearts break not

Though they are ever broken,

A froth of laughter

Tops our sea of sorrows

Light flickers on horizons;

Our souls like sunflowers

Turn toward the dawning:

Our hope begins its orisons.

                                 -------------Eric Merton Roach

                                                 "The Flowering Rock"
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The cardboard box trembled.
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