How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : Little, Brown and Company; 1st Edition
  • Published : 02 Feb 2021
  • Pages : 288
  • ISBN-10 : 0316536989
  • ISBN-13 : 9780316536981
  • Language : English

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House: A Novel

In the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, a brilliant Caribbean writer delivers a powerful story about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called "paradise."

In Baxter's Beach, Barbados, Lala's grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister. It's a cautionary tale, about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter's Tunnels. When she's grown, Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven into the Tunnels by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom – and their lives.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is an intimate and visceral portrayal of interconnected lives, across race and class, in a rapidly changing resort town, told by an astonishing new author of literary fiction.

One of 2021's Most Anticipated New Fiction
The Millions * Lit Hub * O Magazine * * Entertainment Weekly * Minneapolis Star-Tribune * Bustle

Editorial Reviews

"About a group of disparate characters in Barbados, all drawn together by a murder. The island may appear, at first glance, to be a near-paradise, but Jones's forensic prose reveals a society riven by hardship, betrayal and inequality. It is a novel of great elegance and verve - hard to believe it's a debut."―Maggie O'Farrell, author of Hamnet

"This book is heavy. And yet through debut novelist Cherie Jones' poetic sensibility, it radiates a kind of breathtaking light, too . . . tough if luminous . . . through playful prose [she] invites the reader in. She never lets us lose sight of the heart-beating, wounded, alive-of tragic heroes."―David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly

"Dazzling . . . in Jones's capable hands, tension builds without diversion. The storytelling is far from breathless, but it will leave you that way: The effect is of a horrific opera in which ugliness is inevitable, but no less gutting when it appears. And in this opera, there are no minor characters. Each one, carefully and vividly crafted, has a crucial part to play." ―Deesha Philyaw, New York Times Book Review

"Stunning . . . The novel pulses with brutality and runs high with emotions, offering a searing and unforgettable portrait of generational trauma, a colonialist past, and a capitalist present."―Refinery 29

"This transporting novel set in Barbados reveals the way even the most disparate lives are interconnected. It delves into wealth and class, love and crime - and the emotional turmoil that roils in a rapidly gentrifying area and the people who live there."―Good Housekeeping

"The novel's a stunner . . . Jones's evocation of Barbados is exquisite, her brushwork assured, as she portrays pink sands and gated villas, decrepit hospitals and 24-hour convenience stores. . . . Jones's prose is supple, often luxuriant, but the structure of her novel is even more impressive as she bobs and weaves through the aftermath of two mysterious crimes. The pieces snap together, one by one, exposing the consequences of dreams deferred. Here's the launch of a stellar literary career."―Hamilton Cain, Washington Post

"Harrowing . . . A compelling […] story of lives defined by trauma generation after generation."―Kirkus Reviews

"Intense . . . Rich characters and pulsing backstories add a great deal of flavor to the drama. Jones is off to a strong start."―Publishers Weekly

"The haves and have-nots clash in Jones's searing debut. In affluent Baxter Beach, the gentry of Barbados maneuver around their servants with velvet gloves and steel nerves, exposing fault lines of resentment, love as ephemeral as a tropical breeze."―O Magazine

"A h...

Readers Top Reviews

Kathy HarrisShoshThe
Great writing and storytelling; so much sadness; I don’t know Barbados but take others who do at their words that this is pretty accurate. Definitely shows the dark side tourists here, and elsewhere I imagine, never see (and hopefully won’t). I found the ending abrupt and somewhat unsatisfactory but that opinion may improve on reflection if I give it some time. Need to think about the extent to which characters take their pasts with them into their futures. And what does escape really look like anyway?
I really liked the structure of the book. The way it tells the story of each character by telling their backatories and how they intertwine. I wasn't as sold on the abrupt ending that felt a little unsatisfactory. But still way more positives than negatives.
rebecca Bb deal
Poverty, according to one of the characters in Bel Canto, is one of the largest breeding grounds for terrorism. But in this novel of haves and have nots, everything but terrorism is present. It's hard to believe that a book which graphically depicts domestic violence, subjugation of women, rape, injustices of poverty, drug use/trafficking, can still weave into its fabric the power of love and pull of the mother child bond. I can't believe that a book who's characters are so oppressed by their life's situations still find ways to hope and strive for more positive outcomes. The fact that the author can combine such opposing emotions in a cohesive way without making the experience a total downer is a testament to her skill. This is definitely a book to be remembered.
Wasn't a fan of this GMA Book Club of the month book. It is very depressing and I found it hard to finish.
Great story! Recommend to others. Compelling and colorful dialogue. Some may be offended by language. Fast read. Buy this book!

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