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The Sun, the Sea, a Touch of the Wind

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The time is the 1970s. Jonnie Dash is an orphan, survivor of Harlem's gritty streets, ex-factory worker, and, finally, a successful and recognized African-American artist. Now flight from a brush with madness has brought her to Haiti. Encamping in the Old Hotel outside Port au Prince, Jonnie is seduced by the overwhelming beauty of the place. She finds a bond between the fierce inner struggles of her own past and the ever active struggles of the once enslaved island nation. Most of all, she seeks some trace of ...
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Overview

The time is the 1970s. Jonnie Dash is an orphan, survivor of Harlem's gritty streets, ex-factory worker, and, finally, a successful and recognized African-American artist. Now flight from a brush with madness has brought her to Haiti. Encamping in the Old Hotel outside Port au Prince, Jonnie is seduced by the overwhelming beauty of the place. She finds a bond between the fierce inner struggles of her own past and the ever active struggles of the once enslaved island nation. Most of all, she seeks some trace of fire from an old dream, in the shimmering form of a man who had once been her lover and her mentor. Jonnie, however, finds herself an outsider in several ironic and unexpected ways. She is the only black guest at her fashionable hotel. To the native Haitians, her independence, outspokenness, and natural hair-style earn her the sobriquet la blanche aux cheveux frisees, "the white woman with the kinky hair." Savaged by a personal crisis even more terrifying than the one she had escaped, the alienated and confused Jonnie plunges into tempestuous rounds of drinking and sex. Ultimately, a child who desperately appeals to her for help - and who holds the key to the redemption of a loss once thought hopelessly irretrievable - helps take Jonnie beyond fear and past her demons to a wholeness of spirit that mere youth can never know.

The acclaimed author of A Measure of Time presents another novel featuring one of her trademark heroines. Jonnie Dash is an artist who has finally achieved the success and acclaim she deserves. When she vacations in Haiti looking for escape and renewal, she finds only more conflict. With the help of a child, Jonnie is led toward her own personal salvation.

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Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
Guy lives up to her reputation as a lyrical interpreter of human relationships, both personal and political, in her new novel. Set in Haiti during the Watergate era, this psychologically harrowing and culturally acute tale revolves around Jonnie Dash, an artist in the clutches of a nervous breakdown. A trim African American who looks much younger than her years, Jonnie has come to Haiti to paint in peace, far from the notoriety engendered by her recent triumphs. She has also returned to a man she loved some 30 years ago. But Jonnie finds no comfort in this gorgeous, turbulent land, where the natives treat her just like any other rich American, and white Americans and Brits are offended by her wealth and independence. Overwhelmed by a flood of painful memories from her brutally poor childhood, Jonnie gets caught up in a web of incestuous and abusive relationships that subtly reflect the poisonous legacies of colonialism and the slave trade. As Guy adroitly meshes historical fact with emotional truths, she plumbs the depths of our collective suffering but, ultimately, holds out hope for redemption.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525247807
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 305
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.85 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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