In her debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn captures the lushness and devastation of Jamaica and its changing landscape. She brings both island and people to life with grace and beauty, complete with strong dichotomies: the verdant landscape and the rough edges of its poorest towns; its idyllic seas and dangerous tides; its thriving tourism and the ways that industry threatens the island way of life.
Margot works as the front desk manager of an upscale resort by day and hustles resort clients by night. Her goal is to make enough money to send her younger sister, Thandi, to a private school, where she will receive the education--and the promises that come with it--that were denied to Margot. Meanwhile, their mother, Dolores, sells trinkets to tourists in the marketplace, and their grandmother Merle mourns the flight of Dolores' brother to the States. But Thandi, hope of the family, destined to become a doctor and save them all from the difficulties of living as poor black women in Jamaica, dreams of becoming an artist with ever-lightening skin.
Steeped in the experiences of these and other women, Here Comes the Sun is a powerful reflection on femininity and sexuality in Jamaican culture. As the women are caught in a web of other peoples' expectations, and as they fight for their own versions of independence, Dennis-Benn's stunning, multi-layered novel explores the implications of race, reputation, class and money--and how they can push people to trade on today for the promise of a better tomorrow.
Here Comes the Sun | Nicole Dennis-Benn | Liveright | Hardcover | July 2016 | Buy now from an independent bookstore near you