Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) young adult historical fiction

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Indigo Is A Shimmering, Lyrical Novel About Power And Transformation Inspired By Shakespeare S Magic Play The Tempest, Prizewinning Writer Marina Warner Refashions The Drama To Explore The Restless Conflicts Between The Inhabitants Of A Caribbean Island And The English Family Who Settled It From That Violent Moment In The Seventeenth Century When The English Buccaneer Kit Everard Arrives At Enfant Beate, The Islanders Fate Is Intertwined, Often Tragically, With That Of The Everards The Voices That Map The Fortunes Of Those Born, Raised, Or Landed On The Island Pass From The Wise Woman Sycorax In The Past, A Healer And A Dyer Of Indigo, To The Native Nanny Serafine Killebree, Who Transforms Them To Fairy Tales For The Two Little Everard Girls In London In The S At The Center Of The Modern Day Story Is The Relationship Between These Two Young Women Xanthe, The Golden Girl, Brash And Confident, And Miranda, Self Conscious And Uneasy, Who Struggles With Her Creole Inheritance When Xanthe Decides They Should Return To Enfant Beate To Restore Their Fortunes, She Binds The Family Closer To Its Past And Awakens A History Marked With Passions And Portents That Takes The Two Women On Very Different Paths Of Discovery Sensuous And Earthy, Humorous And Magical, Indigo Is A Novel Of Powerful Originality And Imagination I don t know whether it is just my language abilities or the way Warner narrates this story but I simply cannot follow the plot Although I have read The Tempest and know that Indigo is supposed to be a retelling I gave up on this Yet, I m open to picking it up again some time. This is a very literary book, that had me excitedly making notes I first added it to my TBR when I read Wide Sargasso Sea, inspired by the anticolonial writing back concept This book writes back to The Tempest, giving voices to Sycorax and Caliban , and expanding their world Warner seeks to allow far space than Shakespeare to challenge the genocidal storytelling of white supremacy, going beyond outrage the shocked posture of white guilt to explore magic and mystery, decentreing white, patriarchal ways of knowing and being By way of review I will attempt to point out and sometimes examine some of these decolonial gestures.Warner s characterisation is creative and skilful she is adept at making the text do than one this at a time Serafine, a black Caribbean woman who helps Miranda s impoverished upper class family, enlivens her vivid, poetic, unconventional storytelling to the young girl with brilliant imitation and punctuates its sensuous frankness with conservative gender policing something ladies should never do Miranda herself bargains with god for peace between her parents in versions of that weird Christian zest for austerity and self deprivation, forgoing her favourite dessert, putting newspaper in her shoes to hurt her feet Miranda s father, Kit, has mixed heritage and though usually read as white, was teased for his colouring at school Miranda is described by Serafine as high yellow and as she ages, constantly shifts her relationship to her blackness whiteness Unlike her father, she is able to confront her own racism and her openness is rewarded, she does not become a Maroon unable to feel a sense of belonging.Kit s father Ant is a decendant of the white man principally responsible for the colonisation of the island Serafine comes from and evokes richly in her stories This is the source of the family s wealth and prestige, including Ant s fame granting prowess in the extremely popular sport flinders , invented on the island, which reenacts and ritualises the colonists account of their expropriation and massacre Kit is the child of Ant s earlier marriage he is now married to Gillian who has recently given birth to Miranda s aunt Xanthe Greek golden , as she recognises when she later takes the name Goldie , apparently rejecting the sign of eurocentric classism and its connotations of elitism.Gillian is conventionally racist, but by the time this is made clear Warner has already created sympathy with her, emotionally nudging the reader to confront our own racism and complicities Kit responds to her remarks which she attempts to sanitise with not that I m prejudiced with a smile and a raise of the eyebrow but did not gainsay his stepmother , reminding us of the uses of power, since Gillian s husband is Kit s financial supporter By the end of her Christening party, an ancient good fairy godmother who is also a princess what I love about this book is its magpie eyed crafting of fantasy textures from the fabric of reality has wished Xanthe heartless, and cursed by Miranda s mother, who turns up univited wearing the mantle of the wicked witch in the form of immodest attire and a lot of water to be insatiable This is hardly a subtle hint at her future destructive powers, but I found this book very unpredictable for one so heavily loaded with foreshadowing Like Serafine, the black train guard brings Miranda bodily comfort and security Warner demonstrates how important this is to a child, the deep effect it has on emotions The fact that these comforting services are rendered by black people draws attention to the significance of white comfort in the progress stasis of race relations Similarly Gillian and Ant fight over Serafine, him wanting to keep her in their service because she makes him comfortable She makes Gillian uncomfortable, so she wishes to replace her with a white English girl, someone not savage Miranda loves Serafine and wants her attention None of these white people arguing over her considers Serafine s own thoughts and feelings about her work.The novel changes colour I love this device instead of the names of the game, the flags of houses, arms and insignia, we are guided by sense data, the living island, beads on Serafine s thread to speak in the voice of Sycorax Until this point we have been led to assume Serafine and the train guard are the original people of the island, delineated by Kit s nauseatingly and ironically patronising compliment you re a fine people The sleight of hand that erases displaced first inhabitants by declaring native black diasporas imported for slavery white washes the double atrocity of colonisation At first I worried that Warner rewrites the myth of the vanishing native, passing over this old trick with minimal narrative attention glossing the unknown , but I doubt my judgement my own whiteness causes me to get stuck in the zone of self absolving outrage here, demanding rigorous truth telling while remaining insensitive to the emotional landscape of exilic black homeland in the Caribbean Miranda finds a stone that looks ambiguously as if it has been carved and reflects it was common knowledge that the original islanders had left no trace of themselves Warner thus refuses to provide me with the proof, the documentation that whiteness so often demands Her white characters can t access the trace she has traced through the objective study of artefacts, only through imaginative connection, such as Serafine s tales.The voices of Africans enter the text at this point from the far side of death Laughingly, the drowned imagine their bodies feeding the sea and land, taking consolation from the cycle of life However, this disturbing instrumentalisation of their bodies is disrupted by their merrymaking, as they creatively conjure new life Their conversation and Sycorax s overhearing signify the text s shaking loose from European rationalist epistemology and the mechanistic viewpoint that denies spirit worlds and understands lifeless substances of matter, be they gold, indigo, cloth or flesh, through economic measures Dul , later called Caliban by Europeans, is the first African to live on the island, and he comes without culture, yet he is different to Sycorax and her people in his approach to time and history Sycorax identifies Dul s apprehension as similar to the Europeans Rather than positing a genetic memory here, Warner is suggesting that an awareness of being cut off from rootedness in land and community forces the creation of history as a line that can be broken, and that must seek redemption or completion by journeying into a future, whilethe indigenous islanders could see the time and space they occupied as a churn or bowl, in which substances and essences were tumbled and mixed, always returning, now emerging into personal form, now submerged into the mass in the continuous present tense of existence, as in one of the vats in which Sycorax brewed the indigoHere then is one of the metaphors indigo offers the tonalities of time and being, shades of meaning I loved how Warner amuses herself and me with Chaucerian vocabulary in the C17th section, dropping in such spicy words as swived so deftly you might not even need to look them up Do look that one up though I think we ought to bring it back The original, C17th Kit, lead coloniser, has a cast and pitch of religious devotion that allows him to reassure himself that whatever he does is god s work It s necessary to realise that the profit motive clearly driving colonisation was readily linked to Christian righteousness by the idea of the divine right of kings, the holy sanction of nation and the racial self concept of Christians The Europeans saw themselves as god s chosen and therefore whatever brought them prosperity and glory was good This ideology and some of its consequences are discussed here Kit hopes vaguely for the salvation conversion of the islanders but makes no evangelical efforts Meanwhile, he doesn t have a shadow of a scruple about exploiting African people as slaves to grow tobacco, cotton and sugar, referring to them in letters to his gentle female cousin as studs and brood mares and praising their strength and resilience as he might any other machine, as if they can have no souls.Through the eyes of the islanders, escaped Africans and deserters, the colonisers are seen differently The tallow men are childishly stupid They know nothing about cultivation and seem incapable of learning, and no medical skill whatsoever exists among them They would be totally helpless without assistance They are faithless, routinely breaking promises.Warner explicitly notes that slaves suffer at the order of white women She contrasts events with hideously distorted white washed accounts Miranda and friends in Paris play a sensuous drinking game with sugar cubes Warner emphasises thus that slavery is not over and that the history of colonialism lies heavy on the present, on the backs of the colonised, dense under the bellies of the coloniser, still floating in the cream of a thick liquid, in all our minds like fog She critiques the appropriative, distancing gaze of photography after Sontag References abound when is the annotated edition coming Whites in conversation discuss the fate of the island saying the people are good natured but hopeless There s never any suggestion that people might try to change the world instead of the romantics and good natured but hopeless people who just want to live and love and laugh to their own rhythm Miranda is made to look childish and foolish for objecting to this standpoint, but the stories of Sycorax and Serafine, Dul and Ariel, which she is unable to call forth, show her to be right To put aside ideals and join Sy slimeball, carefree Kit and heartless Xanthe is to embrace complicity in the disposal of the island to the profit of the descendants of the colonists this is what we accept with the status quo.Xanthe s gruesome pictures in the hotel she designs made me think of the gruesome opulence I sometimes see in private spaces belonging to very rich people Bell hooks points out in her essay Beauty Laid Bare Aesthetics in the Ordinary and in much of her work that encounters with beauty can be sustaining and transformative, seeking to extend the relevance of art appreciation to working class black folks, and this seems to be inverted in the privileged desire to consume images of violence the aesthetic of fascism I m hoping to understand this better through further readingSolitude is created by the violent othering of difference Although there are many deeply felt relationships here, mainly between women, each of the main characters has to respond to a state of imposed isolation For me this is in each case a state of colonisation, the sense of deprivation that makes Dul climb a ladder into the air The awkward later chapters of the book reflect the unsatisfactoriness of everything visible from this absurd position, yet Sycorax s sanction makes me uneasy I felt this narrative submitted too readily to the broken line of its history. I fell in love with this story long before I started reading it As a history lit major, Shakespeare fanatic and amateur genealogist, any blurb with the words Tempest, blood lines, fairytale and colonial scars is enough to win me over As predicted, it turned out to be a very engaging read.Indigo is set in two distinct places in two very different periods of time The primary narrative tells the story of Miranda a tiny twig on a complex family tree of once glorious, red headed, cricket bat wielding colonists who settled the imaginary Caribbean Island Enfant B ate in the Seventeenth Century The past haunts the grey London streets of Miranda s childhood it is ever present in the stories of her black nurse Serafine, the bickering between her poor, proud parents, and the aura of light surrounding her golden white sister aunt Xanthe Warner then plunges us 350 years into the past, taking us back to the island and weaving a rich historical mythical tale of its native peoples and their displacement The novel finally returns to Twentieth Century Paris, where we witness the adult Miranda struggling to make peace with her family s turbulent past This book has a lot of strong points Importantly, Warner succeeds in tackling serious questions about colonialism whilst keeping her book upbeat, fascinating and completely readable Her weaving of history and myth is rendered faultlessly and is almost Carter esque in its delivery The tone and style of her writing really appealed to me She is especially good at evoking a sense of place I was particularly moved by the image of the Chinese restaurants in London syrupy mangoes and sticky vermilion pork pieces, as well as ivory pagodas and lacy balls carved within lacy balls, and lychees of mother of pearl veined flesh so delicate it would defeat even their nimble carvers skills at counterfeiting wow and the almost painfully beautiful description of the luscious tropical island My only teeny tiny gripe is that the third section lacked some of the force of the first two I d been glued to the page for 200 pages and then felt my attention waning slightly Minor issues aside, this is a wonderful, generous, entertaining, intelligent book and wholly deserves to be better known. Having loved The Tempest, this novel is another breath of fresh air It is beautifully written, so much detail and seeping with history and knowledge an absolute delight to read Loved how you saw characters from the play come into their own, especially Sycorax, who isn t mentioned in detail in the play Novels like these always help me to deepen my interest for the original text, in this case The Tempest, which is one of if not my favorite play by Shakespeare Really liked it, awesome stuff.