The True History of Paradise: A Novel

The True History of Paradise: A Novel❰PDF / Epub❯ ☉ The True History of Paradise: A Novel Author Margaret Cezair-Thompson – It is 1981 Jean Landing secretly plans to flee her beloved Jamaica–the only home her family has ever known a place now rife with political turmoil But before she can make her final preparations she It is History of Kindle × Jean Landing secretly plans to flee her beloved Jamaica–the only home her family has ever known a place now rife with political turmoil But before she can make her final preparations she receives devastating news Lana her sister is dead The country’s state of emergency leaves no time to arrange a proper funeral Even Jean’s mother Monica who hadn’t spoken to Lana in than a decade cannot fully embrace her grief The tragedy only underscores Jean’s need to leave an island that holds The True PDF or no promise of a future Her harrowing journey to freedom across a battered landscape takes Jean through a terrain of memories of her childhood with a detached mother at odds with an adoring father of her complex bond with Lana and of the friends and lovers who have shaped and shared her days Epic True History of Paradise: A eBook Ù in scope The True History of Paradise poignantly portrays the complexities of family and racial identity in a troubled Eden. 2012 ReviewI'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about Jamaican history It's a family saga We go through Jamaica's independence 1962 followed closely by an undeclared civil war of unimaginable violence 70s 80s But throughout the story we hear voices of the family's ancestors and about several important events in Jamaican history eg the English taking Jamaica over from the Spanish I didn't know that the Maroons first generation African slaves who ran away and formed their own independent villages deep in Jamaica's inland didn't know about that either the major earthuake 1692 which swallowed up an entire cityI really enjoyed this book the different narrators didn't confuse me at all The author travelled skillfully through time and made me understand the violent years of the 70s and 80s and the corruption of an incapable government Because of this book I understand Bob Marley's songs better and his life he left Jamaica after an assassination attempt but he returned several times for peace concerts urging the opposing political parties to get along The characters might be a bit crazy I cracked up several times but the historical background is incredibly good2017 ReviewIt was the second for me to read this book together with a book club that is spending a year reading Jamaican literature When I started reading this book I remembered the ancestor's stories the most while Lana's story was vague in my memory I'm surprised how many plants flowers and trees are mentioned in this book and they are all incredibly beautiful I also paid attention to the references of books songs and food Each character is well drawn and I enjoyed reading Jean's development from a shy girl to a mature woman who makes her own choices The relationships among the characters are uite complex and the violence suffered in Jamaica during that time is reflected in the increasing sufferings of poor Lana Definitely interested to read the author's second novel now Jean Landing is preparing to bid adieu to her island home of Jamaica in spite of conflicted feelings It’s 1981 and social unrest has gripped the streets of Kingston; madness precipitated by the warring factions of the country’s two political parties The People’s National Party and The Jamaica Labour Party Jean’s surroundings are now plagued with random killings and a general state of chaos Migration appears to be the only optionThe story unfolds through a series of flash back seuences illuminating the complex racial and colonial framework of both Jean’s family and Jamaica on a whole Unlike many of the Jamaican themed novels I’ve read over the years Cezair Thompson refrains from diluting the island’s patois I experienced a truly visceral response to much of the dialogue contained in this story; a familiarity that conjured thoughts of being in the company of family and friends in Jamaica It’s clear that the importance of cultural accuracy superseded any commercial considerationsTrue History is not without its flaws The final uarter of the book begins to drag somewhat and the constant mention of violence feels overdone and stale Still even with its imperfections Cezair Thompson has crafted a story that is head and shoulders above most who’ve tried their hand at documenting the realities of the Jamaican life This may be as good as it gets when it comes to Jamaican literature The True History of Paradise was BookOfCinz book club pick for September A fellow Book Clubber recommended this book because she remembers how haunting it was for her reading Having never heard of this book before I was eager to read it mainly because it was a debut novel set in Jamaica and is under the historical fiction genre I thoroughly enjoyed The True History of Paradise for a debut novel this book was well written and took you on an intimate look into Jamaica during the 1980s with the political upheaval The book's centering character is Jean we meet her as she hears about the death of her sister Lana and the brutal beating of her best friend Faye Jean decides as other Jamaicans did at the time that she is going to leave Jamaica because of the violence and unstableness of the economy and political climate Jean with the help of her childhood friend Paul intends to make her escape from the island on an illegal plane in a parish far away from Kingston The book goes from the present with Jean's narration and the past from the point of view of all of Jeans's ancestors starting with those who settled in Jamaica in the 18th century I absolutely loved reading about Jamaica from historical perspective Cezair Thompson did an amazing job of giving the reader a great look into the history of Jamaica specifically how it was during Post Independence As someone who wasn't born yet but heard about what took place reading this book was an eye opener If you interested in reading a book with really strong female leads that explores Jamaica's history in a creative and educational way definitely pick this book up For those of you who gave up on reading A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James reading this book is a really nice introduction to ABHOSK GO READ I like this book which might be between a romance and a literary work which uses techniues for a complex effect The different characters are good There are love interests and dashed hopes The narrative has parallel timelines as the story of the main character Jean Landing on a three day journey to emigrate from Jamaica during its 1981 state of emergency crisscrosses with the ghostly stories from several generations of her ancestors a narrative techniue which might be called magical realism Though the principal character is Jean Landing her mother Monica her older sister Lana and her contemporary relatives and friends are important to the story The story goes back to her upbringing and adult life Her mother Monica a business woman is single minded to make a success of her bakery monopoly and is not given to taking sides in the chaotic Jamaican politics between the JLP and PNP She weeds out sentiment and appears hardhearted and shrewish in relationships presumably on account of past disappointments Jean's stepsister Lana has felt the lack of Monica's love so is reared by kindlier family relations The family tree in the front of the book as well as individually told chapters differentiate those family members' and ancestors' lives Many of the women have love relationships andor husbands though happiness love and compatibility seem elusive in any practical way There are several important male characters in the story who provide a 'consoling' role like Paul a watchful one like Jean's father Roy a treacherous one like the politico of the CIA Brian Scoley some abusive ones who maim and murder or a hopeful one like the British New Yorker Alan Weir It is to the last Jean is heading for safety The story freuently meanders into the geological and social past of Jamaica Jean's descendants are a cross section of Jamaica's diverse ethnicities and the reminders of the past go at least back to Columbus entering Discovery Bay Jamaica's topography is edenic a 'paradise' earthuakes forming a land of delightful rivers and falls and unconcerned with human conseuences Vegetation is lush a hiding place from intruders and vistas scenic and curving To be enthralled by the latter is to lose sense of society's crisis The story's author Margaret Cezair Thompson takes the reader from the Arawaks to the Spanish the British and the post colonial angst Those years are personalized by inspiring first person narratives of Jean's female and male forebears how and why they emigrated to Jamaica what were the conditions upon arrival how did they cope and develop why did they stay This book one can read multiple times and still find interesting material On the surface this novel takes place during two or three days in 1981; it is the story of a woman Jean Landing who leaves Kingston Jamaica for the North Coast in order to fly to the United States and escape the political violence as the opposition party and the CIA try to topple the Manley government However most of the book is in the form of flashbacks which narrate Jean's whole life and Jamaica's history from the time of Independence on in a mostly chronological order third person but from the perspective of Jean's memory; and within these flashbacks are other shorter flashbacks in first person to her ancestors from the earliest days of British rule The book has a family tree at the beginning to keep all the characters straight I generally like this sort of complex structure but in this case the book is rather slow at the beginning and seems to present a lot of background material where nothing much happens; as it moves closer to the time of the frame story it picks up interest and also becomes violent Much of the novel's focus is on the relationship of Jean to her parents especially her mother Monica and her sister Lana It originated as a short story about these four characters and then was expanded into the present novel about Jamaican history Perhaps because I was busy this week with other things it took me ten days to read and this may have contributed to my having a hard time getting involved with the action until the middle of the book Once I got interested in the characters it was a good well written historical novel although I would have liked a detailed analysis of the political events I was surprised and a little embarrassed to realize how little I knew about Manley and his government given how interested I was at that time in politics and especially in the Caribbean and Central America It was the author's first novel and I may eventually pick up her second and better known novel about Errol Flynn The Pirate's Daughter Set during a 1981 state of emergency in Jamaica The True History of Paradise examines the ugliness which belies the idyllic landscapes which comprise the island through the lens of several generations of one racially blended family To Jean Landing the state of emergency is the government’s latest futile attempt to combat the growing crime epidemic which has gripped the island Fearful everyday even in her own home and convinced that the government is out of its depth in combatting the rising criminality tacitly supported by both political parties Jean has decided that it is time for her to leave Jamaica She is convinced of her decision when her childhood friend and neighbour Paul arrives at her home with news that her sister Lana is dead Jean decides to leave immediately after Lana’s funeral She has already made arrangements with her friend Alan an American who has promised to help her once she leaves Jamaica The job of safely getting her to the airstrip in the north of the island from where she will fly to Provinciales where Alan awaits falls to the dutiful Paul who has looked out for the Landing sisters ever since they were children During their drive they are periodically met with the jarring evidence of the nation’s current state of affairs Their route is littered with road blocks army operations and other evidence of the country’s state of unrest Residents of previously peaceful villages where the city’s violence seemed far away now have installed burglar proof bars and are wary of any visitors These sights confirm within Jean her decision to leave Also she reflects on her own life and the events that have led her to this point The narrative alternated between Paul and Jean’s journey from Kingston to the north coast of the island and histories of Jean’s mother Monica sister Lana and paternal grandfather Mr Ho Sing who arrived from China as an indentured labourer Particularly sad is the relationship between Monica and Lana which had always been fraught because of the circumstances of Lana’s birth Also seeming unrelated to the story stories from some of Jean’s earliest ancestors on the island are interspersed throughoutThese family histories reflect the history of Jamaica from some of the early European settlers slaves from Africa and indentured labourers from India and China which all comprise Jean’s ancestry As you would guess from the title none of these stories are pleasant yet they are set with the backdrop of Jamaica’s idyllic scenery which the author captures beautifully with her writing Also the contemporary 1981 story deals with a period of Jamaican history with which I am extremely fascinated This is the Cold War era when Jamaica found itself in the centre of hostilities between the US and the USSR because of the PNP government’s “experiment” my word with Democratic Socialism The US fearful of another communist state in its back yard sought to undermine the government by funding and facilitating the political violence which tore the country apartI thoroughly enjoyed this book I’m ready to call myself a Margaret Cezair Thompson fan because I can’t wait to read from her I highly recommend it especially if you’re interested in Caribbean history or if you’re a fan of historical fiction This is another wonderful debut novel but I wanted at the end This novel is told in a non linear pattern about the Landing family and by extension Jamaica Jamaica is often portrayed as a paradise island But there is the dark violent side that has often been portrayed And whilst we think that it is a recent phenomenon a true reading of history will defy that myth In this book Margaret Cezair Thompson takes the reader on a journey to a violent time in Jamaica history Our guide is Jean Landing a pre Independence child who attempts to navigate life in the fifties to the tumultuous 1970 and eighties We meet Jean in the midst of a state of national emergency and the author drops us into the story in a way to mirror Jean's feelings Slowly we learn what has transpired to reach this state and though it took a while to get into the story once I was transported to Jamaica I was captivated And by the end I wasn't ready to leave the book or Jean There could easily be a seuel I enjoyed the nuance of these characters Monica Lana Motherhood and by extension dysfunctional family drama is a prominent theme throughout this book From complicated Monica who is unlikeable throughout the narrative to calm Mary Darling ad others It is only with the intertwining of past and future that what we fully comprehend the characters and by extension Jamaica There are uite a few themes that reflect living in Jamaica that are smoothly integrated Nothing seems forced and I even enjoyed the magical realism Overall I am so enraptured by this author I want to read anything else she has written This does not feel like a debut novel at all At first I thought this was a new book from Cezair Thompson so it was a surprise to find out that it is in fact her first novel repackaged with a new cover in what I presume is an attempt to capitalise on the success of her second The Pirate's Daughter I'm glad I didn't realise this earlier as if I'd known I'd have assumed her first effort would be weaker and less accomplished than her second and probably wouldn't have bought it In fact I think this is a better book although the two are similar in a few respects; both are set in Jamaica and both tell stories that span several generations of the same family against a backdrop of political unrest and social change The story held my interest easily enough I particularly enjoyed the chapters narrated by Jean's ancestors ranging from the 17th century to the late 1970s and the novel works well both as a brief social history of Jamaica and a subtle exploration of the ways our families' past choices and misdemeanours shape our lives I just wish I could say I felt emotionally involved with the characters; as with this writer's other novel I felt distanced from the people it portrayed and it was hard to be truly affected even when terrible things happened to them Also I found the ending unsatisfying and somewhat abrupt I'm glad I read this book but a number of things about it left me feeling frustrated Although I enjoyed 'The Pirate's Daughter' very much this earlier work struck a deeper chord for me Margaret Cezair Thompson's style of writing is one that appeals to me I found this a fascinating book that wove a multi generational family drama with the changing culture and politics of Jamaica Although it touches upon earlier historical periods the main narrative takes place in the 1960s 81It felt like a love letter to the island that didn't diminish the terrible events of the period but placed them into context with the earlier history of the islandI found Jean a very sympathetic character and longed to know of her story Perhaps Margaret Cezair Thompson will return to write on this theme For someone like me who has very little knowledge of the history of the West Indies this was a fascinating and illuminating novel It tells the story of Jean Landing as she travels across Jamaica in 1981 with the intention of leaving because of the civil unrest which had resulted in violence and tragedy The novel uses separate chapters to relate the events leading up to her decision to leave and the stories of her ancestors to give a history of the island The stories of Jean her family and the island of Jamaica is heart rendering passionate riveting and well worth reading about

The True History of Paradise: A Novel MOBI º History
  • Paperback
  • 368 pages
  • The True History of Paradise: A Novel
  • Margaret Cezair-Thompson
  • English
  • 12 September 2015
  • 9780812979831