A compellling fictional tale set in the contemporary Caribean, this is the second episode of a trilogy that continues unraveling the mystical saga of Azucar Ferrand St. Jacques, the enchanting young girl from the batey --the squalid quarters that house the sugarcane workers on the sugar plantation -- who is forced early into suddenly womanhood. She is still plagued by agonizing efforts to find an escape from the island's historic patterns of exploitation. Only this time the exploitation is cleverly packaged in a sophisticated new form: island tourism.
Azucar, now the aggressively smart regional director of a luxury tourist complex, struggles to resist various oppressions and somehow liberate herself from her own haunting demons from a violent past. She must also consider the plight of an increasingly large and threatening community of exploited workers ensnared in the far reaching tentacles of the downside of globalization. This is a novel about the arduous process of renegotiating the dialogues of marginalized individuals who are determined to make their voices heard by the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Simply amazing!! After reading part two of this trilogy, there was nothing not to like only that the book had to end. This being my second time reading a novel by Dr. Cambeira I was blown away again. The word I used in my review on the first novel ¿Azucar¿ was ¿intense,¿ and I would describe this one as eye opening for sure. I love how Dr. Cambeira takes you into the culture so much in detail with this book. It really caught my eye on how harsh the culture and the island resort business was portrayed in the Caribbean. Normally one would think of it as paradise, but it seems as if Dr. Cambeira uses that assumption and twists it around so that it makes the story so moving. This in turn makes the character so believable, and of course after reading the first book I felt as if I already known them. As in the first book my vote for favorite character stays with Azucar. She is so emotionally strong and very passionate. I believe that everyone can relate in some way, shape, or form to the inner battles she is forced to deal with, maybe not to the extremes but im very positive that people have been touched by her life in these books. The dialogue in this novel catches me more attentive than in the first novel , because I literally was pulled in page after page. This flows into how Dr. Cambeira¿s plot development leaves me again wanting more, and I really enjoy how the style of language is informative with the Caribbean way of life as he uses some actual Spanish, and even French phrases in the book. After reading the first and now the second book, this story is so believable because the actual telling of how the tourist resort business works, and how it so selfish to big time wealthy executives. The workers now find themselves working for a wealth increasing resort and are not totally adapting to the new role of Azucar.. Even though this is many years later I feel as if I have not missed a beat, her and Lucien have not strayed away from what their life used to be like, especially Azucar which is why I enjoy her character so much. They know what the life is like to be poor, broken down, and abused and they try to help the workers by giving them good pay less strenuous work. Though money hungry people try and make Azucar steer away from the power of the spirits that protect them, so they can make a quick buck. It is great to see the unfolding of this novel, because you definitely cannot tell how it will end! I was very prompted to read this book after the greatly enjoying the first one, and I cannot wait to start the end of this trilogy!! I love to read stories like this, and Dr. Cambeira writes so beautifully, and very emotional. These stories have changed my look on life I would say, and especially with Azucar, she just never forgets where she came from which is something that we should all strive to achieve. Thank you for another great novel Dr. Cambeira!
For all the numerous admirers of Alan Cambeira¿s exceptionally fine novel AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar ¿¿¿ welcome to the next installment! Authors who have the courage to carry the characters of their creation beyond the initial story often disappoint: the infectious energy of the initial book is difficult to sustain. Not so with Alan Cambeira. AZUCAR¿S SWEET HOPE not only equals the success of its predecessor, it in many ways surpasses it. Cambeira¿s ability to create exotic imagery is obvious from the opening chapter in which he describes with extraordinary visual language the beauty of the Caribbean island on which his story is staged. He also has the uncanny ability to write in a fashion that fills in all the details of his first book without the need for the reader to start with AZUCAR! And in a story so rich in history, ethnic diversity, interweaving of four languages (English, French, Spanish, Creole), and complex genealogies, this is no simple task. Yet each time another character enters the stage we are almost parenthetically brought up to date with a cogent history of that character¿s past and then interaction with the present story. The fine-tuned storytelling ability of this fine author keeps the momentum going without confusion and always with compassion for the reader. But to the story. Azucar is the child from the batey slums of the sugar plantation, abused by the squalor of living in filth, impregnated by the demon Mario with twins who are then ritually sacrificed, protected by a grandmother who is in close touch with the island spirits, spirits who accompany this gifted child throughout her life, and ultimately is rescued by Marcelo and his lover Harold and moves to Canada where she finds love and fulfillment with Lucien (another islander who escaped) and establishes a concept of tourism for her native island that she believes will bring an end to the hardship life of her childhood. All this happens in the first novel! Now, it is ten years later and Azucar and Lucien have returned to the island where they are enormously successful in establishing a luxurious tourist paradise based on the innate beauty of the Caribbean atmosphere. But what was once an island of hardship for the populace of the poor workers, even though suffused with the new wealth and prosperity of the resorts, slowly is shown to have its own brand of caste system. The various ethnic groups that populate the island are steeped in tradition and untrusting of Azucar¿s new role. Old secrets surface, ritual murders take place, the long-standing bifurcation between the Haitian Blacks and the Spanish and French people plays into extraordinary factions, workers¿ strike, and the government is self-serving and greedy. In short, the solution to the evils of the sugar plantation business, replaced with the new tourism fantasy, shows evidence of seeds of the same worker discontent. But in the course of the story we encounter all of the characters from the first novel embellished by the appearance of mature adults from the sugar plantation days who have grown into three-dimensional personas. The intrigue woven by Cambeira is so tensely written that it is next to impossible to put this book down once it is started! To reveal the ending would be a disservice to the reader: suffice it to say that there likely (and hopefully) will be another installment to the endlessly fascinating story of Azucar! Cambeira is not only a superlative storyteller; he is also able to instill in his stories some universal morals that are never cloying, but very pungent. In the words of the old Don Anselmo, `All things are connected. Men and women didn¿t leave the web of Life without taking a strand of that web with `em. That¿s what makes us human¿a person is a person through other persons; a person belongs to a greater whole and is diminished when others are diminished or treated as if they was less who they are.¿ And who can read AZUCAR¿S SWEET HOPE and no