How to Escape from a Leper Colony: A Novella and Stories

How to Escape from a Leper Colony: A Novella and Stories

by Tiphanie Yanique
     
 

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An enthralling debut collection from a singular Caribbean voice



For a leper, many things are impossible, and many other things are easily done. Babalao Chuck said he could fly to the other side of the island and peek at the nuns bathing. And when a man with no hands claims that he can fly, you listen.



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Overview

An enthralling debut collection from a singular Caribbean voice



For a leper, many things are impossible, and many other things are easily done. Babalao Chuck said he could fly to the other side of the island and peek at the nuns bathing. And when a man with no hands claims that he can fly, you listen.




The inhabitants of an island walk into the sea. A man passes a jail cell's window, shouldering a wooden cross. And in the international shop of coffins, a story repeats itself, pointing toward an inevitable tragedy. If the facts of these stories are sometimes fantastical, the situations they describe are complex and all too real.


Lyrical, lush, and haunting, the prose shimmers in this nuanced debut, set mostly in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Part oral history, part postcolonial narrative, How to Escape from a Leper Colony is ultimately a loving portrait of a wholly unique place. Like Gabriel García Márquez, Edwidge Danticat, and Maryse Condé before her, Tiphanie Yanique has crafted a book that is heartbreaking, hilarious, magical, and mesmerizing. An unforgettable collection.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The effects of colonialism throb in Yanique’s vivid debut collection. The chilling title story is set in 1939, when the Trinidadian island of Chacachacare was still used as a leper colony; the narrator, a 14-year-old orphan with leprosy, befriends a curious boy her age, Lazaro, whose mother was murdered there when he was a baby, and whose troubled relationship with the nuns leads him to a terrible retribution. “The Bridge Stories” are elucidating snapshots of islanders struggling to carve out lives for themselves on St. Thomas and elsewhere amid an exploitative tourist economy. Yanique frequently dips into rich, fanciful vernacular, such as in “Street Man,” a beautiful, sad glimpse at a doomed love affair between a college student and a St. Croix local. In the affecting novella, “International Shop of Coffins,” Yanique depicts characters of mixed African/Creole/Indian descent torn between the white and island worlds in all their complexity and conflictedness. A smattering of dark humor leavens the tense narratives as Yanique penetrates the perils and pleasures of lives lived outside resort walls. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Anyone who has ever been an outcast will recognize himself or herself in these short stories by Yanique (creative writing & Caribbean literature, Drew Univ.), which center mostly on the island of St. Thomas. The heartache of each character is vivid, but what is a real triumph here is the simple, eloquent prose, which doesn't work too hard to achieve its purpose. While the title story is the best, others are still excellent, and they all describe people who are struggling between two worlds—not just the case of being marginalized by race, culture, or religion but the simple feeling of always being an outsider. Yanique portrays this position well, over and over, throughout the book. VERDICT A beautiful and insightful read, this will be of interest not only to academic libraries but also to all drawn to the best contemporary American and Caribbean fiction.—Shalini Miskelly, Highline Community Coll. Lib., Des Moines, WA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555970536
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Publication date:
08/07/2012
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
692,901
File size:
2 MB

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