The True History of Paradise It is Easter and Jamaica is in a state of emergency There is violence in the streets and police checkpoints are everywhere Island dwellers for centuries the Landing family has gathered to bury

  • Title: The True History of Paradise
  • Author: Margaret Cezair-Thompson
  • ISBN: 9780452280755
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Paperback
  • It is Easter 1981, and Jamaica is in a state of emergency There is violence in the streets and police checkpoints are everywhere Island dwellers for centuries, the Landing family has gathered to bury one of its own Staring at the closed coffin of Lana Ramcharan, her mother and sister confront the cruelest kind of loss Jean, who was Lana s sister and closest confidante,It is Easter 1981, and Jamaica is in a state of emergency There is violence in the streets and police checkpoints are everywhere Island dwellers for centuries, the Landing family has gathered to bury one of its own Staring at the closed coffin of Lana Ramcharan, her mother and sister confront the cruelest kind of loss Jean, who was Lana s sister and closest confidante, has always been attuned to the spirit world, and now, in the face of this latest catastrophe, the voices that have always guided her urge flight from this troubled place.As Jean makes her way across the island toward the plane waiting to take her to America and safety, she is overcome by memories, not only of Lana but also of her forebears African, Creole, Scottish, Indian, and Chinese Ancestral voices tell of the hardships and wonders, of the beauty and atrocity, that are indelible parts of the Jamaican experience.

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      Published :2019-03-23T11:40:11+00:00

    One thought on “The True History of Paradise”

    1. 2012 Review:I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more 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, e.g. the English taking Jamaica over from the Spanish (I didn't know that!), the Maroons (first generation African slaves who ran away and [...]

    2. 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 option.The story unfolds through a series of flash back sequ [...]

    3. I like this book, which might be between a romance and a literary work which uses techniques 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 technique which might be called magical rea [...]

    4. 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, [...]

    5. 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 ar [...]

    6. 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-81.It felt like a love-letter to the island that didn't diminish the terrible events of the period but p [...]

    7. 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 th [...]

    8. I liked it. Great book for learning about the history of Jamaica while experiencing the book as a novel through the experiences of the main character. Be sure to refer to the family tree in the front of the book often, in order to keep the times, characters, and relationships straight. Much of the book is not in chronological order. (Apparently it can be hard to refer back to the family tree if reading the book on a Kindle.)

    9. If there was an unfinished shelf this book would have to go there. The book is not terrible, its average but so far it couldn't sustain my interest. As Jean leaves tormented 80's Jamaica , stories of her ancestors and her childhood emerge. Its mainly a story of a middle-upper class mixed Jamaican family. Its not the typical historical fiction, as you are not really learning much about the history of Jamaica as you are about a dysfunctional privilege family and their time in the hills and boardin [...]

    10. A novel so lovely, set in a land so wonderful, a true paradise.Cezair-Thompson's delicate storytelling made the place and the events that took place so vivid, even with just words to tell them. The development of the story from Jean's childhood to her becoming, and the transformation that took place in Jamaica was good and well-crafted.I felt attached to Jamaica and sorry on how it turned out to be with this novel. I felt sorry and broken with the characters and their stories. And there were par [...]

    11. I did really like this bookbut It was an interesting story of Jamaica through the ages, told via diary-like entries (and very cleverly written by the author), but mainly via the life of Jean Landing - the youngest daughter of a strong-minded mother who is living through the uprisings of the early 80s. It was confusing at times to see where this was going (and I felt the book could have been about 70 pages shorter), but at the end I wanted more as the author seems to leave us hanging. I'd like to [...]

    12. This was very similar to her latest book The Pirates Daughter - an overview of Jamaican Culture, multi-generational, with many of the same character types - the witholding mother, illegitimate or "outside" child, the kindly country grandmother - and a wide range of folks - mixed race, rastas, Scots, Syrians, Jews,intellectuals, ex-pats, farmers, obeah women, etc. It's like a purse chock full of so much stuff you're not sure why it's all there but you'd be hard pressed to figure out what to take [...]

    13. Both an exhilarating and painful read. Some of it seems so very difficult to imagine as real, and yet, it is written so compellingly that the reader is bound to consider that the sort of violence experienced in this nation was heavily orchestrated by interests far beyond their own. It makes me look much more warily at what is going on in Syria, and question, excruciatingly, how much of a role the moneyed interests of the world are playing there as well.

    14. I had not realized how bad the political situation had been after independence for Jamaica. This books gives a sympathetic portrait of a family, its history, and its connection to the island. The family tree at the front of the book is absolutely vital for keeping all the characters and their relationships straight, although there seems to be a typo on one, as the parents and child are born in the same year.

    15. This is a well-crafted novel, with quality writing. It does well creating the distinctive world of Jamaica in the 1960s, both the tropical country and the idiomatic speech rhythms of the people. After a couple of hundred pages I started wondering where it was going. Would the heroine go through with her plan or not? At the end it just petered out and we don't know what she decided to do, which is a bit of cop-out.

    16. Loved this book-strong characters (although surprisingly not the main character, I felt like I knew more about Lana than Jean) and an author that knows how to make shifting narrative actually work. I didn't realize when I checked it out that the story is told by several people. Actually, some of the dead characters were so interesting that I wished for an entire novel about them, particularly Mary Darling's mother, the Scottish "Doctor Wife".

    17. This is my second time reading the book, with about 10 years in between. Since the first time I read it, I spent considerable time in Jamaica, and it made the book that much more enjoyable. And it made me a little homesick for the island too. That said, this is a great story of family, history, and culture that you really should read. It's fabulous.

    18. I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book, understanding the drive for power and money any place any time can help you understand why we persist in maintaining social caste like systems. When there is as much power, money and opportunity as the new world offered and tobacco and sugar cane brought about, slavery seemed liked a viable option. The cost of slavery for all races was catastrophic.

    19. I loved this authors other books, but there was an overuse of local language right from the start . I could not settle in and enjoy the book . Cannot say I finished or ever got too far into this one :(

    20. Fascinating tale of a multi-ethnic immigrant family in Jamaica. The action flips back and forth between 1981, when the main character is planning to flee the violence on her native island and various members of her family over the generations.

    21. Descriptions of the settings were beautifully written; the voices were diverse & the patois flowed authentically. Mr. Ho Song's chapter made me laugh to tears. The historical references were thought-provoking & have motivated me to learn more about my family's distant history.

    22. I thought this book was amazing. I was fascinated by the historical and cultural information about Jamaica, and the stories from different generations and ethnicities were riveting. One of my favourite books ever.

    23. Even as a descendant of Caribbean immigrants, I found this novel complex though slightly comparable. It makes for an interesting read especially if you have some background to the political and social ideologies of colonialism and its effects in the Caribbean.

    24. A true page turner. An unforgettable look into the lanscape of Jamaican politics. This is not your typical documentation of politics or the issues arising from it. This story grabbed and held my attention all the way through. My interest never wavered for a second.

    25. This was another book I took on vacation to Jamaica. It was much more serious than the other one I read, and it incorporates so much Jamaican history. I found myself underlining and marking passages constantly in this book, it’s so beautifully written.

    26. The True History of Paradise brings to life the turbulent past of Jamaica through the history of a varied and multi-ethnic family whose story reflects that of the island itself. Both engrossing and thought-provoking, this novel lends a sense of beauty to a violent history.

    27. I did not know much about Jamaica's turbulent history. It was an interesting read that brought up more questions for me than answered them.

    28. This book was tough for me to get into at first but I warmed up to it. Made me want to read up on Jamaican history.

    29. I read this while in Jamaica and enjoyed it. I researched as I read it and it did a nice job following history. It was recommended by Conde Nast Traveler.

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