Barbadian author puts Bathsheba centre-stage with new book
Facing North – Tales from Bathsheba is a collection of short stories published by Barbadian author, Edison T. Williams.
The ten intriguing stories span almost a century of Barbadian life from the 1930s to 2015 and beyond.
The stories are told with humour and the insight of someone who understands the nuances of this small Caribbean society; they offer observations of the many colourful sides of the human experience. Facing North also deals with the way in which villagers’ lives can from time to time be impacted by its transient residents. But the Bathsheba in these stories is more than a small picturesque seaside village; it is a microcosm of Barbados. Other writers had this to say about the book:
“Reminiscent of some of Mavis Gallant’s short fiction… The stories, all good reads, deal with serious current issues of …politics, economics, race, sex, land appropriation and identity…these are hopeful stories…”(Robert Edison Sandiford author of THE TREE OF YOUTH AND OTHER STORIES).
“(Edison T. Williams) is a story teller! He has the technique of gripping the reader from the beginning. (His) endings are classic Somerset Maugham/O. Henry. I have my favourites among the stories, ‘Desmond Lola and Bassman’ is fascinating…’The New Sybaris’ is a riveting read… but I really loved them all.” (Peter Laurie, author of MAUBY’S QUEST FOR THE MAGIC FLOWER AND OTHER BOOKS.)
“…an excellent collection of short stories and a couple not so short. Good set of characters that remind me of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row… I would love to meet these characters… ‘The New Sybaris’ is substantial and intricate in describing the many motives involved in a political issue. I liked every story…If I can speak for the public, we want more.”(Lennard Sillanpaa, On, Canada, Author of AWAKENING SIBERIA.)
Amazon review by Dr, Gill Strejan, Ontario, Canada.
This is a lovely collection of short stories about fictional characters and events in Bathsheba, a small seaside village, on the rugged East coast of Barbados, facing the Atlantic.
The events described here could have been taking place anywhere in the world, and thus have global validity. However, all 10 stories reveal a strong emotional investment by the author, in that place. Each story deals with a different topic and depicts distinct characters. The stories are written in a beautiful style, easy to follow and full of wisdom and humour.
The epicenter of the stories is in Bathsheba, and even when the action takes place elsewhere, such as in ‘Desmond Lola and Bassman’, there is always a Bathsheba connection. All of the stories deal with fundamental aspects of human life. In the ‘Price of Fish’ a young fisherman mobilizes and leads a rescue operation risking his life, to save others and the local fishing fleet during a severe Atlantic gale, luckily, with a happy ending. In ‘Facing North’ we learn about the consequences of lending money to “trustworthy friends” and about looking in the wrong direction for the right answer.
In ‘Iron Man Jones’ a young newspaper reporter is searching for the truth from a retired policeman, about her grandfather’s shooting. In “Breadfruit Brouhaha” the author deals with petty competition, rich against poor, the despair of poverty and the funny side of a mother’s bravery. ‘Island Man’ is a love story between two people ultimately separated by opposing professional ambitions and distinct socio-political outlooks on life. Perhaps in a follow-up story, the author may still bring the two main characters together.
In ‘Desmond Lola and Bassman’, – the story I liked the most – a highly talented jazz bassist (Bassman),living in London but born in Bathsheba gives the author the opportunity to express his views on the power of music, of war, of illness, of love and of cultural identity.
In the last story, ‘The New Sybaris’ the action takes place in the future (It commences in 2015) and deals with the attempt at a major real estate grab by a large corporation, from the individual home-owners of the Bathsheba area, in order to build expensive condominiums and commercial centers for international interests. The story is beautifully written in the detective story style with a lot of political intrigue that reaches even the office of the Prime Minister. Interesting to note that many of the characters that we meet in Facing North re-appear here, most of them in a positive light. I was sorry to finish this book.”
Buy a copy of Facing North: Tales from Bathsheba
In Barbados it is on sale at the following places:
Cloister Book Store – Days Books – The UWI Book Store – Andromeda Gardens in Bathsheba .