Song of Night-C

Glenville Lovell, Author, Lovell Glenville, Author Soho Press $23 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56947-122-7
For Night, the beleaguered, independent-minded Barbadian heroine of Lovell's highly wrought second novel (after the praised Fire in the Canes), life is a series of no-win scenarios. With her father hanged for murder and her beloved sister dead from a botched abortion, Night (christened Cyan but called Night ""'cause I was so dark"") suffers the scorn of her native fishing village until her job as a domestic leads to a life-altering friendship with the lady of the house. An artsy, expat African American, Koko is necessarily an ambiguous figure in this novel, which bitterly depicts the quasi-colonial sexual tensions between vacationers and locals. Koko encourages Night to take dressmaking courses and helps her peddle her wares to tourists on the beach. This business soon leads Night into selling her body to tourists, a trade that enriches and demeans her at once. At the same time, Night falls in love with a fellow beach vendor, who leaves Night pregnant when he decamps with a female tourist. Koko arranges for Night to give up the baby for adoption to a wealthy American woman, an act that breeds tragic consequences. After a leisurely development, Lovell concludes his narrative in a frenzied whirlwind of action and melodrama. Despite this imbalance, his ear for the musical cadences of Bajan English and his understanding of Barbadian culture underscore his evocation of an exotic location that seems like paradise but has its own share of human misery. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
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