Friday, April 22, 2016

Review of Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

In her debut novel, Land of Love and Drowning, Tiphanie Yanique weaves Caribbean historical fact and fiction into a compelling story of love, heartbreak, and loss that gracefully blurs the lines between contemporary fiction and fantasy.

Click the link to hear me read an excerpt from the novel, in character as Annette:

The story begins with sea captain Owen Arthur Bradshaw, his wife Antionette, and his mistress, Rebekah. Rebekah is known as an obeah woman (obeah is a Caribbean term dealing with the practice of witchcraft or magic) and it is widely believed throughout St. Thomas that she used her powers to drive her Navy husband away, and to lure and keep Captain Bradshaw.  He fathers two children with his wife, Eeona and Annette, and an illegitimate son with Rebekah named Jacob.  The lives of these three children will become intertwined in ways that send shock waves through the next generation.

Tiphanie Yanique was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently lives in New Rochelle, NY with her husband-the photographer Moses Djeli, and their two children.  Land of Love and Drowning is her first novel and it has received several awards, including the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction.  She is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled How to Escape from a Leper Colony, and is a professor at the New School in the MFA program.

Land of Love and Drowning is part love story, part fable, and part history lesson.  While Ms. Yanique writes of the magic spun by Rebekah, Eeona, and Annette, she creates her own magic with an elegant lyricism and poetical style that draws readers in and leaves them captured under the spell of the Bradshaw women and the mystical beauty and power of the Caribbean.  As a huge fan and supporter of Caribbean arts and literature, I am thrilled to have discovered a new talent in Ms. Yanique and will be eagerly awaiting her forthcoming works.  Fans of Colin Channer, Paule Marshall, Elizabeth Nunez, and Edwidge Danticat-there is a new Caribbean writer in our midst who is poised to take her place as a torchbearer of the authentic island narrative and culture.