Providence Pond - Book Review
Author, Beresford McLean brings a new novel to his fans, this one delves into a time when British culture dominates over those within Jamaica. Providence Pond’s 500 pages are divided into four parts; each involves four generations of the King family between 1880-1920. The book closes with an afterword that provides insight into some of the issues in Jamaica over the years. Readers may want to read this section first, as it will definitely enrich the experience. A mysterious Wiseman suddenly appears to a small group of seven individuals from Providence Pond just when matters were about to get out of hand. Asa, an aged shaman-like character, intends to begin a new branch of his “Family” within their community, and this scares some folks who are intimidated by the persecuting officials.
But Asa leaves and does not return until much, much later – bringing Congo King and Miss Hene along with him. There are numerous characters in Beresford’s novel but Congo, the co-leader of the new branch of Asa’s Family, is the leading role. When I began this project, I was under the mistaken impression that it would be about a cultural clash between two peoples. Instead, the story seems to be more about a small group of people in a rural area who have children and the children have children – the readers witnessing all the drama from adultery, romance, jealousy and greed. Anticipation of a mistaken impression could have lead to my disappointment with some sections of the book.
But the transformation of Detective Graham was something I wouldn’t have wanted to miss and I am glad that I read the book through to the end. I was certainly intrigued by the beliefs, culture and drumming – perhaps due to our home-based business, Drum-it Percussion. Sadly, the story did not delve deeply into these subjects. However, the brief glimpses were certainly bright points for me. Providence Pond is Mr. McLean’s second novel – the first being Broken Gourds – and is currently working on a third book. He is a generous man, deeply involved in numerous charities. Beresford actually emigrated from Jamaica to the United States roughly 36 years ago, and so writing about his homeland obviously slips easily into his novels. This book would certainly appeal to readers who enjoy rural romance. Publisher: Anancy Books ISBN: 0-9753297-1-5.
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