Cargo

Jane Rawlinson, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $19.95 (241p) ISBN 978-0-233-98132-1
Betty and Harry Stillman (``as in stillborn, ha! ha!'') are on a Caribbean cruise at lastbut distance from home only exacerbates the distance Betty senses between herself and Harry, a horn-skinned monster who, while pecking and belittling dreamy Betty, is concealing the fact that he has lost his job as a salesman. When the cruiseship calls at Monday Island, his home, Thomas, Betty and Harry's cabin steward, takes the opportunity to visit Ophelia, the love of his life and mother of his children, Nelson and Napoleon. Ophelia has left the island, however, and subsequent events form the body of the novel. Rawlinson ( The Lion and the Lizard ) limns slyly ironic portraits of tourists and islanders, evincing first-hand knowledge of her ground as she switches between these modern characters and a low-key but harrowing narrative of Ophelia's slave ancestors to create a tragi-comedy that lingers with the reader. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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