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The Pirate's Daughter (2007)

by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

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This was a $3 buy at Big Lots :) Coupled with the easy price, this is a really easy to read book about colonial & post colonial Jamaica, with it's rich cultural history, & a great cast of characters spanning a couple of generations. The main characters, Ida & her daughter May's, lives are centered around the period of time that Errol Flynn was blown ashore on Jamaica when his ship was wrecked in a hurricane. He becomes May's father, although he never once acknowledges her.

I found it to be fascinating, sad, & happy in different places, & the dialect that some of the dialogue is written in just makes the reading experience that much richer.

I was not fond of the ending, but that's ok :) ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
Birthday gift from my Mom-In-Law!
  capriciousreader | Dec 20, 2013 |
The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson is like Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani, except that it's set in Jamaica and the movie start du jour is Errol Flynn. Whilst Elizabeth Taylor didn't leave much behind on her trip to Big Stone Gap, Cezair-Thompson asks the question: What if Flynn fathered a child while on the island?

In 1942, Flynn did in fact land in Jamaica, his ship damaged from a storm. He did fall in love with the island and did start to build a house there. The remains of the house are still there. For the novel, though, the original landing is pushed forward to 1946 and Flynn's initial stay is much longer to give the first act of the novel time to play out.

Flynn's predatory nature and the effect it has on Ida and later her daughter, May, is drowned out by too many voices. Cezair-Thompson jumps around in points of view, not sticking with Ida or later, May. Either a strict first person telling (from Ida and later May) or a more removed, omniscient narrator would have succeeded in telling a less muddled story.

With all the padding I never felt like I got to know Ida or her piece of Jamaica. By the time she had vanished, leaving her daughter in the care of relatives, I didn't care enough about May to continue reading. Included in my links are more positive reviews if you want a second or third opinion. I though, cannot recommend this book. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 20, 2013 |
  AnneHudson | Nov 13, 2012 |
I love books set in exotic locations (exotic to me at least). No place intrigues me more than Jamaica! Lush, warm, cultured - but down-to-earth and comforting - Jamaica is a country which I dream of visiting sometime.

So, naturally, a book set primarily in Jamaica delights me! This novel takes place during the coming of age of Jamaica as a nation - a time of innovation and turmoil. This is the time that May - the daughter of a beautiful young Jamaican girl and Errol Flynn (the pirate guy) - comes of age.

The novel starts with Errol Flynn's embankment in Jamaica, where he meets a young Ida - a local Jamaican beauty. Errol comes in and out of Ida's life, until she is a teenager. At this point, they have a torrid affair resulting in the birth of their daughter May. Errol isn't exactly the best father however, or the most responsible person in general. Ida is left to struggle with the shame of having a child out of wedlock and paying the bills. As a result, May grows up without parental figures of any sort, or at least without parental figures that show affection.

The only people who show May affection are her step-father (though in a stilted manner), a boy she grew up with, and the parent of one her best childhood friend and former boyfriend. May has a reckless streak in her that reflects her father's behaviour in her birth - leading one to ask how much is nature and how much is nurture.

The element of having May grow-up alongside Jamaica is interesting, although expected. Nonetheless, there is an interesting parallel between rebellious teenager's and a nation struggling to identify itself from Britain.

The descriptions of the Jamaican people - as well as the landscape - are heady and delightful. I found myself longingly pricing out vacations in Kingston between chapters. This is a wonderful summer read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough!! ( )
  mrn945 | Jun 7, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812979427, Paperback)

WINNER OF THE ESSENCE LITERARY AWARD IN FICTION


In 1946, Hollywood’s most famous swashbuckler, Errol Flynn, arrived in Jamaica in a storm-ravaged boat. After a long and celebrated career on the silver screen, Flynn spent the last years of his life on a small island off the Jamaican coast, where he fell in love with the people, the paradisiacal setting, and the privacy, and brought a touch of Tinseltown glamour to the West Indian community.

Based on those years, The Pirate’s Daughter imagines an affair between the aging matinee star and Ida, a beautiful local girl. Flynn’s affections are unpredictable but that doesn’t stop Ida from dreaming of a life with him, especially after the birth of their daughter, May.

Margaret Cezair-Thompson weaves stories of mothers and daughters, fathers and lovers, country and kin, into this compelling, dual-generational coming-of-age tale of two women struggling to find their way in a nation wrestling with its own independence.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:56 -0400)

Spanning 30 years of Jamaican history, 'The Pirate's Daughter' is a tale of passion and recklessness, of two generations of women and their battles for love and survival, and of a nation struggling to rise to the challenge of hard-won independence.

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