Angel

Merle Collins, Author Seal Press (CA) $9.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-931188-64-0
This first novel by a Caribbean poet relates a familiar story: thanks to her mother's determination and sacrifices, the daughter of an impoverished provincial family receives a college education and returns to her family alienated by her inevitable politicization, her own growth mirroring the struggles of her country (in this case, Grenada) to gain political autonomy. What distinguishes this work is its lyrical rendering. Collins's characters think and speak in patois: `` `People like you an me so, the harder we work in people kitchen and in people lan, the more we kill weself out and bring riches, is the poorer we get while we sweat goin in other people pocket.' '' The initial strain imposed by the singular language quickly abates, and the technique enables the reader to share the perspectives of the protagonists and implicitly challenges the hegemony of ``standard'' English. In spite of the feminist and political themes, the characters are never reduced to mere mouthpieces; their dignity lies in their remaining conflicted even as they struggle with oppression. When America invades Grenada, the title character says, `` `We wrong. But that don make dem right.' '' The combination of artistry and objectivity will commend this book to many readers. (September)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-7043-4082-4
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