A High Wind in Jamaica

A High Wind in Jamaica

Book - 1999
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Richard Hughes's celebrated short novel is a masterpiece of concentrated narrative. Its dreamlike action begins among the decayed plantation houses and overwhelming natural abundance of late nineteenth-century Jamaica, before moving out onto the high seas, as Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown upon the mercy of a crew of down-at-the-heel pirates. A tale of seduction and betrayal, of accommodation and manipulation, of weird humor and unforeseen violence, this classic of twentieth-century literature is above all an extraordinary reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood.
Publisher: New York : New York Review of Books, 1999, c1929
ISBN: 9780940322158
0940322153
Branch Call Number: FIC Hughe
Characteristics: xii, 279 p. --

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wyenotgo
Apr 18, 2018

Some have likened this book to a bit of Peter Pan mixed in with Lord of the Flies. Certainly, there's a never-never aura to it and the prominent role of Emily might remind one of Wendy. But all that is quite superficial. Reference to Lord of the Flies Has a good deal more validity, but still somewhat misses the point. What we have here is first and foremost a writer who manages to immerse himself in the mobile minds of children to a remarkable degree. The child's awareness of events; her interpretation of the relative importance and meaning of those events; a child's perception that is often completely at odds with that of an adult beholding the same occurrences: grasping all of that and putting it into coherent words is surely quite a feat.
As for the story itself, it's a rambling one and ultimately of little consequence. Hughes strikes me as not a very good story teller; actions are abrupt, sometimes disjointed and far from convincing. Rather, the true substance of this book lies in its exploration of the personalities, both child and adult and their state of mind. In the end, I found it a bit creepy, which is not what I expected.

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SteveDudley
Nov 16, 2017

Good book, but creepy. Quite dark. Disney meets Stephen King.

m
macierules
Dec 06, 2012

Written in 1929 - written about childhood but not for children. This book is on the Modern Library's List of top 100 novels.

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whiteshadow13 Jun 15, 2012

whiteshadow13 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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