River Woman. (fiction reviews).
River Woman by Donna Hemans Washington Square Press, January 2002 $23.00, ISBN 0-743-41039-4
Newcomer Donna Hemans captures the voices of the people of Standfast, Jamaica, and transports readers to another place and time. In her ambitious debut novel, she skillfully slips in and out of dialect with ease, giving the story an interesting color and character.
River Woman begins with the tragic drowning of a three-year-old boy, Timothy, who wanders into a powerful river called Rio Minho in this forgotten town with unpaved roads, no running water and no electricity. Almost immediately after Timothy's death, a whispering campaign begins among the people of Standfast: "She stan' there and watch the pickney drown like that. This mus' goin' haunt her de res' a her life. I believe she knew that baby was in the water and she watch him drown to get her chance to go a foreign."
The "she" in this Jamaican town is Kelithe, a high school dropout and a mother at 15, who is forced to deal with the loss of her son and rumors that dog her about his drowning. While Kelithe's character is vividly detailed throughout, her mother Sonya, by comparison, is a bit of a mystery.
At times, the narrative switches from Kelithe's voice to Sonya's, making the story confusing. However, Hemans' ability to entice her readers with lyrical language and an intriguing story line makes River Woman a page-turner.
--Sadeqa M. Johnson is currently working on her first novel.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Johnson, Sadeqa M.|
|Publication:||Black Issues Book Review|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2002|
|Previous Article:||Satisfy My Soul. (fiction reviews).|
|Next Article:||Skin Folk. (fiction reviews).|