How the One – Armed Sister Sweeps her House, by Cherie Jones, Tinder Press, 2021
This debut novel is set on Barbados, a picturesque setting for a story which is harrowing and at times, relentless. It includes murder, rape, sexual assault, incest, domestic violence, and the death of a baby. But it is totally compelling as it sweeps you into a world in the Caribbean in the 1980s and addresses poverty, class, race, drug trafficking, love, domestic violence, and motherhood. At the centre is Lala, a young woman trapped in a violent marriage – as her mother had been before her.
The writing is excellent, the characters beautifully and realistically developed and relatable. Real life is not always pretty. It was shortlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize. A powerful and amazing first novel.