Review: Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead Books, 350 pages, July)

I've now read two books by Tiphanie Yanique in just a few months, and I can't wait to see what she publishes next. Both HowTo Escape From A Leper Colony and LoLaD explore the rich history of the Caribbean Islands and interactions between its people and foreigners (mostly from the U. S.). Yanique dwells on the unique aspects of each island, and also what draws them together. Because its people are a rich mixture of cultures and ethnicities, the Caribbean offers her a varied and fascinating field of study.

LoLaD tells the story of three generations of women from one family, each of whom must decide how and where she wants to live her life on the islands. Each island offers a different set of memories and folklore, and moving off of St. Thomas to, say, Anegada or St. John signals emotional or spiritual turmoil and an effort to exorcise it. Spanning the twentieth century, LoLaD offers us insight into the complex and shifting cultural and political landscapes of the Caribbean, including the U. S. takeover of St. Thomas, Caribbean men fighting in WWII for America (and the racism they experience on the mainland), and a grassroots protest against beach privatization in later decades.

Yanique too explores how Antoinette, her daughters Eeona and Anette, and Anette's daughter Eve Youme determine their relationships to men and to their own families. Bearing children, becoming financially independent, marrying or divorcing: these are just some of the many issues Yanique's women face in their quest for self-determination.

Like I said, I look forward to whatever Yanique gives us next, and now I'm going to go re-familiarize myself with Caribbean literature.

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