I’ve been at this blog for a very long time now, and yet Guyana will be just my second South American country. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be visiting! Especially since I know very little about Guyana; this will be a true learning experience. Knowledge is good! South America is even better!
(Edit: I’ve also tagged Guyana as a Caribbean country. The more I read, I learned that it’s part of CARICOM, the Caribbean single-market organization, and is more culturally tied to that part of the world, versus the continent on which it exists. Super cool!)
Map of Guyana (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Location of Guyana (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
I normally can cruise through an engaging novel of this length (248 pages) in no time; I mean sometimes like in a few hours. Not saying that to brag or anything; when I hyperfocus on words, it’s GAME ON. Some people can learn guitar effortlessly…I’m a speed reader. It’s the closest thing I’ve got to a superpower.
About half-way through this book, I realized it would be over soon and I made myself put it aside. For a few days even. I wanted to live with it a bit longer; to stick with this world full of beautiful phrases and potent emotion.
I also needed to think about how I felt about all of it. I often tend towards non-fiction and clean, tidy ways of communicating. I’m the person at work who sends you a to-do email that’s just bullet points. Poetic expression can throw me off, and I’ll admit there were moments with this book that I felt overwhelmed; the language is lush. It twists and flows and doubles back…and it suits the storytelling perfectly. I’ve now reserved every title from my library by the author, Linda Hogan, and am totally looking forward to experiencing more of her work.
This is the book I chose to represent the United States, and it spot-on captures what I hoped it would. Not specifically the story, which is its own self, but the whole frame of What does it mean to be an American? Whose voices get heard? What the hell are we doing?
“…I’m enraged by this world that offers me nothing, yet expects so much of me.”
I was taken aback for a second when this came up. We are a country, in the world, a part of the whole, so of course it’s on the list…
How do you read, and learn, about your own country with the same openness that is so easy to find when looking at other places? This could be a very healthy exercise for me, here in the midst of a unique point in our history.
Not sure yet what path I will take. I’m open to what comes my way.
Location of the USA (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of the United States of America (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Map of the USA (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Enjoyment of a particular thing is so subjective. You can love a movie the first time you see it, but view it again in a different mood, or season, or after a bad day…and sometimes your opinion turns the other way.
I find that to be so very true with books. Reading is the most intimate of experiences; it’s interior, and mysterious, and very personal. That’s one of the reasons I pull my punches in book reviews here on The Global Reader; the world is so full of opinions, and while mine are just as valid as anyone else, are they really needed? Does what I think have value for you, or is it just one more voice shouting into the void of relentless content? SO MANY THOUGHTS…
That all said…I didn’t enjoy this book at all. It hurt me to finish it, but I find Anguilla so compelling, I did so out of respect for the place. I found the characters themselves to be interesting, since this is loosely based on real events, but even after many, many, many words streaming past my eyes, I did not get to know them. I wanted to, and was frustrated by the distance. I feel bad writing this, but there you go. Make of it what you will. Would you like it? It would be great if you did! Will I read again it someday, in a different state of mind, to see if I get more out of it? Nope.
On the positive side, it did give me some insight into independence movements in the Caribbean, the start of understanding how labor moves around the region, how different industries affect different islands, and how much history affects life now. Not a bad haul from something that I had to force myself to get through!