Fire in the Canes

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Fire in the Canes is an epic tale about murder, betrayal, love and longing, a unique Caribbean blend of the supernatural and of historic fact. It is the story of young lovers, parted forever after one magical night, and of a people overcoming the legacy of slavery and regaining pride in themselves and their ancestors.

In this enchanting novel, ancestral spirits lead Caribbean villagers out of the lingering shadow of slavery. In the little village of Monkey Road, ...

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Overview

Fire in the Canes is an epic tale about murder, betrayal, love and longing, a unique Caribbean blend of the supernatural and of historic fact. It is the story of young lovers, parted forever after one magical night, and of a people overcoming the legacy of slavery and regaining pride in themselves and their ancestors.

In this enchanting novel, ancestral spirits lead Caribbean villagers out of the lingering shadow of slavery. In the little village of Monkey Road, almost everyone works in the cane field; the plantation still owns the land. But when Peata and her beautiful daughter Midra arrive, mysterious and wonderful things begin to happen. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Restless spirits of slaughtered slaves are as vibrant as any human character in this notable debut. In 1894, after the abolition of slavery, a tiny community on an island reminiscent of the author's native Barbados is still dominated by the local plantation and its cane fields. The return to this community, after a year's absence, of the exotic Peata and her teenage daughter, Midra, inspires a chain of events that alters the uneasy relationships between the landowners and their tenant workers. Before their disappearance, both women had been drawn to Prince Johnson, an itinerant seaman who spurned Peata's advances and seduced Midra, impregnating her; Johnson's body was found just before the two women left. Back in town, the women are initially mistrusted by the locals, yet Brandon Fields, an apprentice blacksmith, is drawn to Midra and her son, Hartseed, eventually marrying her. Hartseed is seven when he meets another of Johnson's children, a half-sister with whom he explores a remote cave in which the pair discover a mysterious mask. The mask releases its secrets selectively: wearing it, the children envision scenes from their family's past and decipher the secrets of their heritage. The mask also leads to the resolution of the rampant and bizarre destruction of the cane fields that has ravaged the plantation. Absorbing tales of other tenants fold not entirely smoothly into the otherwise richly descriptive narrative. Though the novel suffers slightly from harsh, choppy dialogue, it promises a bright literary future for the author. (Sept.)
Library Journal
First novelist Lovell joins the ranks of such writers of magic realism as Alejo Carpentier with this novel, which is set in Barbados. Strange things start happening in the close-knit village of Monkey Road after Peata and her beautiful daughter Midra arrive. They both fall in love with the village Robin Hood, Prince Johnson, but Prince chooses Midra, who bears his child. As jealousy separates the two women, the community seeks to repossess land still owned by the plantation though slavery has long been abolished. Mysteriously, the sugarcane lands are being destroyed, and the villagers believe that monkeys possessed by ancestral spirits seeking revenge are the culprits. There are mysterious deaths, bizarre sex, and, of course, a strange mask. Lovell's story rushes onward at full speed, and it is difficult to separate magic from reality, which adds even more to the intrigue of this brilliantly crafted tale. Highly recommended.-Corinne Nelson, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425160404
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.76 (d)

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