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Here Comes the Sun: A Novel by Nicole…
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Here Comes the Sun: A Novel

by Nicole Dennis-Benn

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3151653,325 (3.64)32
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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Had this book in my list of books to read for awhile but dropped it off. Can't remember exactly why but decided to go ahead and pick it up at the library after seeing an interview with the author, saying she wanted to tell stories that aren't often seen and help dismantle some of the media/pop culture portrayals. Seemed like a good idea.

Margot is a woman working at a resort who also works as a sex worker on the side so as to help her younger sister, Thandi, avoid the same future. Thandi, however, has different dreams than what her family expects of her and this clash is a major part of the story.

Initially the opening definitely interested me with establishing Margot's work at the resort by day plus her side hustle otherwise. But as soon as we got away from that opening scene, the book just dragged. I thought I might have difficulty because the subjects that are covered are painful and real: homophobia, child sexual abuse, poverty, colorism, racism, colonialism/imperialism, etc. But I just felt really bored by it all.

The end was also disappointing: we get a conclusion and ending for a main character but the others are treated like afterthoughts. It could be that because of the nature of the relationship with the MC by this point is not great but at the same time it was frustrating because part of the motivation and drive of the story is just sort of lost. I suppose it's just enough for the MC to have escaped (regardless of how she got there) but it was a let down.

Borrowed from the library and that's what I'd recommend. ( )
  acciolibros | Apr 21, 2018 |
I read this one for my lesbian book group. At first I wasn't sure I liked the book, I think because I was expecting a Lesbian Novel, instead of what this is, which is a novel with lesbians in it (really a better thing).

It's the story of a family of three women. The mother Delores and the older sister Margot, are working and sacrificing to send the younger sister to school so she can become a doctor and rescue the family from poverty. The younger sister, Thandi, really wants to be an artist, which of course is not understood.

All three women have unpleasant sides, and make some pretty questionable decisions in their quest to escape poverty. It was hard to like Margot, but also hard not to admire her tenacity.

The book gives a detailed picture of life in Jamaica, and the issues surrounding tourism and it's effects on the community. ( )
  banjo123 | Apr 2, 2018 |
jesus. i like my books bleak, with a side of sadness. that's been harder for me since the 2016 election, and maybe that's why this seemed a bit overwhelming. it's full of heartbreak and trauma, but it's also full of truth and it feels like real life. (which is, of course, why it's so sad.) the women in relationship in this book - mother/daughter/sister/lover/friend are doing all they can to survive, at the expense of everything around (and inside) them. the word that kept coming to mind with delores, in her interactions with both margot and thandi, was monstrous. and yet she's also a sympathetic character to some extent, trying to feed herself and her family. she does the unforgivable, but so does margot and perhaps even thandi. (and how much is reason vs excuse?) this is full of heartbreak and what happens when you give no options to a community. (also there is homophobia and colonialism, on top of the racism, sexual violence, poverty, forced prostitution, and self hatred that overlays everything in this book.)

the writing is tight and well done. the dialect isn't hard to understand and it's generally easy to get into its rhythm, and definitely adds to both the story and highlights the issues of class and expectation for the characters. this is powerful and hard and unfortunately necessary.

"Though she has been selling herself since high school, there is something dirty about selling other broken women, especially girls as young as her sister."

"'Love is foolish. Yuh eva see love put running wata inna pipe? Yuh eva see love build a roof ovah we head? Yuh eva see love give free education to those children whose parents can't afford school fee? Yuh eva see love full up we cupboard? Yuh eva see love hand we visa so we can go anyweh, far from dis rat hole? What can love do fah you, eh?'"

"'Membah dis, nobody love a black girl. Not even harself."

good god this book is tragic and important on every level. 3.75 stars that should possibly be higher. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Mar 29, 2018 |
This title & cover art may be misleading to some. It's hard not to look at the cover of this book & hear those musical lyrics in your head, picturing beautiful Jamaican beaches & vacation resorts. But that's not what this book is about. This is about the darker side of Jamaica, where real people live and survive, manipulate and sacrifice in order to make a living. The story evolves around a mother (Delores) and her two daughters (Margot & Thandi). Delores is a bitter, older (middle aged) woman who works the tourist stalls. Margot is an almost-surrogate mother to Thandi (15 years her junior), working in order to one day send Thandi to medical school & a better life. Thandi, a teenager, is beginning to discover herself but struggles to fit in with either the people of her hometown or the more uppity peers at her private school.

This story is multi-layered. It examines underlying racial tension, political gain, prostitution, homosexuality & perhaps an alternate but realistic view of family dynamics in a poor country. However, these themes are woven effectively & the novel does indeed pack a punch. Though some of the content may be somewhat disturbing, it is well written. I found the Jamaican dialect effective, although I do think that reading it on audio, as I did, would make for a somewhat easier read. The reader, Bahni Turpin, captured this dialect flawlessly and did an excellent job. The ending of the story snuck up on me, and while it left me a little unsettled, I would certainly recommend this book. ( )
  indygo88 | Feb 9, 2018 |
It's a very impressive piece of fiction and I thought it was quite good, esp for a first novel. But I found it a little on the melodramatic side - I wouldn't have minded the plot turned down a notch or two. Still, it's an important look at Jamaican culture - the misogyny and intensely anti-gayness that also shows up on Marlon James' novels.

I will definitely be following this author. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Dec 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
"“It may take place entirely in Montego Bay, but be not deceived: If you’ve come for palm trees and umbrella drinks, you’ve boarded the wrong plane. This lithe, artfully-plotted debut concerns itself with the lives of those for whom tourists can barely be bothered to remove their Ray-Bans, and the issues it tackles — the oppressive dynamics of race, sexuality and class in post-colonial Jamaica — have little to do with the rum-and-reggae island of Sandals commercials....'Here Comes the Sun” is deceptively well-constructed, with slow and painful reveals right through the end. Just who’s able to give history the slip, and at what cost, is one of the saddest things you’ll ever read."
added by theaelizabet | editNew York Times, JENNIFER SENIOR (Jun 29, 2016)
 
Dennis-Benn has drawn each of her characters confidently, never shying from the fact that their choices are both problematic and necessary for survival in a town that is disappearing beneath their feet. If the drought doesn’t overtake their livelihood, the greed and inevitable expansion of the resort industry will. There is little in the realm of economic prosperity that residents of River Bank can fashion that does not exist in service to someone else’s need... The book has big questions about greed and sacrifice: who wants to be desperate in paradise?
 
there's no character in Dennis-Benn's novel that's anything less than complex, multifaceted, and breathtakingly real. That's part of what makes Here Comes the Sun one of the most stunningly beautiful novels in recent years.....Dennis-Benn's writing is so assured, so gorgeous, that it's hard to believe Here Comes the Sun is a debut novel. There are no wasted words; every sentence is constructed with care and a clear eye. She writes with a calm, steady voice even in scenes where things go horribly wrong for her characters... it's a joy to read, but you can tell that every sentence was hard-fought. Here Comes the Sun is tough, beautiful and necessary, and it feels like a miracle.
 
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For Addy and Jamaica
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The long hours Margot works at the hotel are never documented.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis- Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman—fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves—must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.
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"In this radiant, highly anticipated debut, a cast of unforgettable women battle for independence while a maelstrom of change threatens their Jamaican village. Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis- Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman--fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves--must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise."--… (more)

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