Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
These are Notes....rather than a fluid review. Be warned!
:Aliens, not extraterrestrial.Cultural. Aliens in their own lands, their experiences as Outsiders while living in the Inner city. The OTHER SIDE, as it were.
:TORONTO-in-the-Future. The privileged and monied classes fled the city, threw up barricades and roadblocks in their wake....left the inner City to fester and rot....left it in the hands of posses/criminal gangs, and the desperate disenfranchised. Until the need arose for body parts/organs...the wealthy needed organ transplants..and the state run Pig Farms were rife with disease (and dis-ease)..... here is where the Posses enter..Oh, the horror!
:Three generations of Afro-Caribbean "seer" women have made a life for themselves amidst the city's ruins..a life of grief, secrets, lies...Herb Lore and ancient ritual...Obeah...Santeria..."the spirits"
:The Two Worlds collide (sometimes literally) in a tale that incorporates both Zombies and organ transplants...a future that contains ancient ritual amidst Urban Decay...A Future that could be "just around the corner"..and, in this case, actually works as story.
:I liked the book for its unique perspective and "take" on Aliens/Alienation. The women characters were strong..to a fault, at times...whereby they couldn't recognize their Strength until it was almost too late. It always took a harrowing crisis to bring on a 'Wake Up Call"..there were plenty of crises. I could have done without the "mushy-mushy" love story...but Ti-Jeanne, the young woman at the forefront of the story, needed it..needed to get through it..to find her own SELF..In the end she was still learning..still "seeking". This is not a New Age tome..more "old as the hills"...no easy answers..no smooth closure. Plenty violence and blood..evil duppy...sadness beyond the grave. As I said, i liked this book..it won the WARNER ASPECT FIRST NOVEL CONTEST back in the day..and as a debut novel...is pretty damned good. Never set the world on fire..but I think it would make a great Graphic Novel. Ms Hopkinson's prose is that sensuous...one can see the action and smell the decay of the dying city. I own the follow-up title Midnight Robber...it's waiting "in the wings". Will get to it toot-sweet, oui.
3 1/2 Stars......