Relatives and neighbors of carpenter Taranpersad Balkaran remained baffled yesterday as to how his house burnt flat in the dead of the night, with him still inside it.
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Francis-Sharma mines Trinidadian heritage in debut
• Til the Well Runs Dry (Henry Holt and Co), by Lauren Francis-Sharma
Much like the varied Trinidadian population it seeks to illustrate, Til the Well Runs Dry is something of a jumble of people and interests striving for space.
The story follows three generations of the family of Marcia Garcia, who is introduced in the novel as a teenager burdened with two young boys, a relentless suitor and a lingering family shame.
The novel is set from the 1940s through the 1960s, and Marcia’s family grows as Trinidad emerges from colonial rule. Marcia, an isolated seamstress, has a slight connection to the island’s politics, but her struggle for her own stability and independence takes precedence. The well in the title of Lauren Francis-Sharma’s debut novel alludes to her characters’ seemingly bottomless resources of patience, poor decision-making, pluck and resignation.
Francis-Sharma is the New York-born daughter of Trinidadian immigrants, and while sometimes tedious in its pacing, her novel is rich in its descriptions of Caribbean fruits and spices, the long journeys required on the island’s winding roads and the close, sometimes suffocating nature of life in small villages. (AP)
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