Saturday, July 21, 2012

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Jenny)

 The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A NovelThe White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel by Monique Roffey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautiful book. The writing transports me to the island of Trinidad, with the heat and the vegetation and the turmoil of centuries of different groups of people moving through. I loved how it was written, with the majority of the story happening in the present, and then other sections going back to the beginning and then moving forward to meet up to where it started.

The story is about George and Sabine Harwood, who come to Trinidad in 1956, right after marrying, and right after Trinidad has achieved 'independence.' Throughout the book, Sabine converses with Trinidad as the curvy green woman stealing her man away, while also writing unsent letters to Eric Williams, the new leader of the nation. There are many conflicts that seem to belong to the island, potentially lacking any possibility for resolution. Sabine ends up loathing the island, and you feel it with her. Her children are also Trinidadian through and through, which isolates her further.

The best opening line:
"Every afternoon, around four, the iguana fell out of the coconut tree."

On Trinidadians:
"Frank stood erect, gazing at the priest, absorbing every word. This was how Trinidadians behaved in church: alert, composed, peering respectfully at the altar, awaiting a miracle. Carnival and Lent. Bacchanal and guilt. Trinidad in a nutshell. This was a nation of sin-loving people who made a point of praying for forgiveness."

"Sabine looked at her daughter, who looked just like George. She was bold like him, clever like him. A Trinidadian, like him."

"Love happens to you... The other person's spirit climbs into you. You feel so much for them. If they get hurt, you hurt. If you hurt them, you hurt yourself."


Anonymous said...

I love the last quote. I am going to have to read this soon.

Hwa Sun Kang said...

I love the opening line.