Set in a remote modern village in the interior of Trinidad which wants a school and a schoolmaster, this novel portrays rural life in Trinidad and the impingements of modern life, capturing the West Indian speech rhythms.
A sad little Trinidadian idyll, graced with a pastoral pace, cursed with the painful pidgin dialogue through which native colloquial speech is rendered limb-from-limb into English. "'Soon I will learn when I go to the school.'/ 'I want to go to the school, Pedro, I will learn very well.'/ 'You will learn very quick, Robert.'/ 'Do you think I will learn very quick, Pedro?' " - and so on. . . Can it be that emerging cultures have not grasped the possibility of contractions? Could it be that fictional treatments of West Indian village life might avoid dialogue that gives the reader a faint riveting-machine headache? Apparently not. In this story, an innocent, sunny village is shattered by the death of a young girl who had become pregnant by the man imported to bring "progress" to the town - the schoolmaster. Fearful of releasing her terrible secret to her father and fiance, the girl had committed suicide, and the schoolmaster is killed (by careful accident) by the father. Throughout, the kindly priest, who feared the destruction of Eden, contemplates the tragedy; and it is hinted that more evil is coming through the incursion of modern civilization. A moving tale, ponderously told. (Kirkus Reviews)