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Tide Running (Bluestreak) by Oonya Kempadoo
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Tide Running (Bluestreak)

by Oonya Kempadoo

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Cliff and Ossi have grown up in Plymouth on the island of Tobago, surrounded by urban poverty and drug abuse. One day they are invited to the "flim-style house" of Bella and Peter, a wealthy vacationing couple who offer temporary harbor from the harshness of the city streets. At first, the friendship appears an unlikely but uncomplicated connection between human beings, but when Cliff, Peter and Bella embark on a menage-a-trois relationship, difficulties arise.

I wanted to love this book. From the opening description of the sea, written in a perfect Caribbean dialect, I felt immersed into the lush blue-and-green world of Tobago. Cliff's first person narration, though challenging to read, created a unique, believable and wonderfully observant character. I loved his dialect so much that I sometimes read it out loud to myself. But about halfway through the novel, it became obvious that this book wasn't on a clear course. The point of view switches over to Bella, a two-dimensional character whose thoughts and dialect are not as rich as Cliff's. Italicized stream-of-consciousness ramblings are difficult to understand and serve no purpose in the story. The author doesn't seem to know what to do with the complex relationship she's created or the questions it raises, so the book suddenly jolts to a stop with a surprise ending that doesn't play fair with the earlier characterization of Cliff. The book left me feeling cheated at the end, and I doubt that I will read more of this author's work. ( )
  cestovatela | Oct 16, 2008 |
Story about a poor family in Tobago that gets connected to a wealthy British family. Great for whowing first world-third world differences, but plot hard to follow at times and made difficult by strong dialect. ( )
  Gary10 | Oct 13, 2008 |
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Oonya Kempadoo's novels summon up the seductive rhythms of the Caribbean ­ and show harsh young lives behind the dream of sun, sea and sex. When she was working on her second novel, Tide Running, Oonya Kempadoo would take her notebook every morning down to the water's edge in Tobago, where she then lived, and sit, gazing out to sea and writing. In the afternoon, she would go back to the house and type the result. The book begins "The sea rolling and swelling up itself down by them rocks on Plymuth Point. Breathing out, sucking 'e belly back in." The language feels part of the landscape, and has evolved with it.
 
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The sea rolling and swelling up itself down by them rocks on Plymuth Point. Breathing out, sucking 'e belly back in.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807083739, Paperback)

Cliff and Ossi have grown up in Plymouth on the island of Tobago, their lives turning on the axis of small-town life. One day they watch the arrival of a couple and their child at a luxurious house overlooking the ocean. The couple invites Cliff into their home and lives, and in that cool'flim-style' house, the harsh, brittle life of urban Plymouth is kept briefly at bay, desires obscuring differences in class and race. But then things begin to go wrong-money vanishes, the couple's car disappears-and those differences are brought suddenly to light, raising unsettling questions about relationships, wealth, and responsibility.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

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Beacon Press

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