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Tiphanie Yanique

Autor(a) de Land of love and drowning : a novel

7+ Works 725 Membros 42 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Includes the name: Tiphanie Yanique

Obras de Tiphanie Yanique

Land of love and drowning : a novel (2014) 514 cópias, 37 resenhas
Monster in the Middle: A Novel (2021) 73 cópias, 2 resenhas
Wife (2015) 12 cópias
I Am the Virgin Islands (1735) 4 cópias
The saving work (2007) 3 cópias

Associated Works

The Best American Short Stories 2020 (2020) — Contribuinte — 148 cópias, 2 resenhas
Trinidad Noir (2008) — Contribuinte — 57 cópias
Best African American Fiction (2009) (2009) — Contribuinte — 48 cópias, 1 resenha
Letters to a Writer of Color (2023) — Contribuinte — 18 cópias, 1 resenha


Conhecimento Comum



This historical novel is a multi-generational saga about the Bradshaw family of the United States Virgin Islands. The story begins in 1917 with the transfer of the islands from Denmark to the United States and the ongoing theme of the narrative is how the Virgin Islands are American but treated as something tangential. Events withing the story include the enlistment of V.I. men to World War II and the Korean War, the rise of tourism and resort hotels, Hollywood using the islands as a filming locale, and the Civil Rights movement which inspires a movement to occupy the beaches that are being privatized by white American property owners and hotels.

The Bradshaw's story starts with Owen Arthur Bradshaw, a ship's captain, and his wife Antoinette, who are part of highly-respectable family on St. Thomas. They have two daughters, Eona and Anette. Owen also fathers a son named Jacob Esau with his mistress. When their parents die (Owen in a traumatic shipwreck), Eona is forced to put aside her desires to raise Anette. The novel alternates among the three children's points of view as it follows their story up until the 1970s. Yanique's writing feels inspired by Toni Morrison and has touches of magical realism. There's also a lot of incest, both knowing and unknowing.

There are parts of this book that are very interesting but also some parts I found quite absurd (the Hollywood movie ends up being a pornographic film, in the 1950s?) and other times that I just wished that Yanique would get on with the story instead of circling around a point. So, consider this a mixed review.
… (mais)
Othemts | outras 36 resenhas | Jan 11, 2023 |
Set in the US Virgin Islands from the early 1900s to 1970s, this is the story of Bradshaw sisters Eeona and Anette, and their half-brother Jacob. When they are orphaned, they must make their own way in life. We follow their lives, loves, and struggles to deal with the many changes taking place in the islands at the time.

The author does a wonderful job of providing each character a unique voice. Eeona is the more formally educated. Anette communicates in the dialect of the islands. An omniscient narrator occasionally breaks in to provide commentary. Yanique mixes in elements of local folklore, obeah, and magical realism. These elements are subtle and do not overpower the narrative. The Virgin Islands are beautifully drawn, and the vivid sense of place is one of the highlights of the book.

This story is not solely a family saga. It also examines issues such as colonialism, racism, classism, tourism, and identity. I think the reader needs to be aware going in that the content includes incest. It is integral to the plot, and this portion is finished early in the book. Based on the author’s family background, this is an imaginative story grounded in the Virgin Islands’ culture and history.
… (mais)
Castlelass | outras 36 resenhas | Oct 30, 2022 |
I kept trying to get into it, and just flat gave up about half way through. I don't entirely think that's the book's fault -- I wanted some kind of magical realism and while there are bits here and there, it just wasn't enough for me. I also didn't like the characters all that much and the pacing was slow.
jennybeast | outras 36 resenhas | Apr 14, 2022 |
An excess of incest spoiled an otherwise lovely book for me. I'm leaving three stars because I enjoyed the writing style and ongoing interconnectedness of characters and past events so much, but docking both those two stars because of how squicked out I was throughout.

Plot summary for forgetful future me, chock full of spoilers:

We begin in the Danish West Indies in approximately 1917 with Antoinette Bradshaw, the slightly scandalous (for her childhood in Anegada) wife of wealthy merchant Owen Arthur Bradshaw, who is (yuck!) proactively enamored of his beautiful daughter Eeona. Worse, until the end of her days she describes her father as the love of her life, even her husband (yuck!). She's so jealous of his mistress, the local obeah woman with whom he's had a son, that she wishes him dead...and, shortly after fathering a second legitimate child, Anette (despite all of Antoinette's efforts to abort her), just as the Virgin Islands transfer to U.S. control, he does die in a shipwreck. Antoinette dies soon after, exhausted by her efforts to turn her fashion sense into a career right as the Great Depression hits.

Eeona refuses to give up her upper-class ways, despite Anette's desire to fit in. Eeona concocts various schemes for getting rid of Anette, convinced it will give her the freedom to rise again to her station, up to and including pushing Anette into a loveless marriage with the charming good cook Ronaie Smalls, right before he ships out to the U.S. to fight in WWII. Though they have a child, Ronalda, Anette scandalously divorces Ronald, who wasn't her cup of tea to begin with. Unfortunately, she then falls madly in love with the newly-returned Jacob Esau McKenzie, her half-brother. Yuck, but I'll give them a pass, since neither of them know it--Jacob's mother needs him to keep the McKenzie name so that the family will pay for his education and Eeona keeps the secret to protect what's left of her family's reputation (though given that Anette is divorced, I don't see how allowing incest makes things less bad). No, the gross part is that Anette and Jacob have sex on a beach while baby Ronalda is sleeping right next to them and Jacob thinks about how he's basically having sex with her, too. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Jacob decides that if he becomes a doctor and gets his mother's approval that way, she won't object as much to his marrying Anette later. So off he skedaddles back to the U.S. for his education...as a gynecologist, so that he can put his hands in women--not sexually is specified, but still...yuck. However, she's pregnant with a second daughter, Eve Youme "Me", and she needs a father for her kids, so she marries Franky Joseph, who's loved her since he was a child. She doesn't love him like she loves Jacob, but he's a good man that she comes to care for. They have another child, Frank, and start getting involved in island politics.

Meanwhile, Eeona is desperately trying to pursue her dreams: making souvenirs for tourists in a fancy hotel; planning to move to the mainland for fashion school; diverting instead to a months-long abusive affair with a man who, it turns out, is Jacob's mother's legal husband gone missing; and finally establishing a hotel to take advantage of the growing tourist industry. When she notices that Frank has developed a crush on Me (yuck!) she convinces Anette to let her take the girl to Anegada, where she has ultimately moved to be closer to her mothers' ancestors and the watery grave of her beloved (yuck!) father. Anette, by this time, very luckily learned of her relationship to Jacob right as they were about to rekindle their affair; she agrees to send Me with Eeona and only meets Jacob on a public beach, rejecting his advances, to share the letters Me sends--Jacob is, after all, her biological father.

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

My ongoing discomfort with the twisty family ties and incest distracted me at times from this book's many strengths:

Its perspective and tense shifts, from Anette's first-person dialect to Eeona's formal third-person to the shifting third and "we" of the islander narrators, with occasional asides from the men Anette loves. It seems like it shouldn't work, but somehow it does.

Its layers of commentary on storytelling: Eeona's interest in Caribbean folktales and family lineage, Anette's desire to be a history teacher only to realize that her mainland and general Caribbean history classes don't cover local history, the narrators talking about what they know is true, the occasional forays into what didn't happen before revealing what did happen, the secrets kept and exposed.

The suffocating expectations of women whose "episodes" of wanting more are unacceptable and lead only to madness.

The influence of the United States on the islands, from becoming "American" but not having a vote, to being a source of soldiers, to discovering the depths of black-and-white racism in the U.S. compared to the colorist fluidity in the USVI, to being exoticized in a porn film, to being neglected in the wake of a devastating hurricane while "real" Americans (mainlanders) are evacuated, to being inspired to take back private beaches into public lands...

Yanique's book is rich in history, but she does seem to lean more on the "fiction" side of historical fiction. As she says in her author's note, several big events in the novel occurred at different times and in slightly different ways. An odd disassociation with dates may have contributed to my grumpiness while reading: the islands become the USVI in 1917 and Antoinette tells her husband that he is less than a mainland woman because there, women can vote...but mainland U.S. women didn't get the vote until 1920. WWI goes totally unremarked. The Great Depression is mentioned almost in passing. WWII has almost no impact on the islands until the soldiers come home. A major hurricane is undated. Eeona, Anette, and her children seem to age from babies to teens to adults quite suddenly, and then Ronalda seems to be in college for years and years--though this could also be an effect of their lives. Yanique also reveals in her author's notes that she's changed some of the historical events: That terrible film had a different name and was made almost twenty years later; the open beach movement had a different name; local bands and people had different names. I get not wanting to offend anyone living, but I also feel like there are acceptable standards of historical fiction when it comes to incorporating real things. Surely the people in the open beach movement and the local bands would be more pleased to see their names in print than dismayed? Unless they were also upset about all that incest, child molestation, and other weird sex things. Okay, yeah, I get why she changed that.

Which really begs the question...why? One case of incest in a story is one thing, but this much makes it seem almost endemic. How is this better than that porno film? Yes, the characters are rich and complex in a way that I absolutely loved, but what is the reader to feel when it seems like every single mother is sleeping with or wants to sleep with their parent or sibling? It's just too much.

I have Yanique's short story collection. I hope there's less weird sex in it, because I absolutely love her style, her complicated characters, her ability to call backward and forward to weave the whole story together, the symbolism, and the historical atmosphere (even if it felt like a bit of an authorial betrayal to find out how many things were deliberately slightly off) and I want to read more of that without the deep, pervasive feelings of unease and disgust.
… (mais)
books-n-pickles | outras 36 resenhas | Dec 29, 2021 |



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