Pynter Bender is a child of the cane fields of Grenada, the second smallest independent state in the world. This extraordinary debut novel tells of a boy born blind but whose eyes are healed, allowing him to see great beauty. The story charts the painful awakening of a rural population, essentially organized around serfdom, into a raw and uncertain future that can only be achieved through fighting—a civil war that Pynter is drawn in to. Pynter's father leaves him to be brought up by the Bender women, a close-knit group of aunts and cousins, and Pynter's early life is shaped by these women. He begins to understand a world beyond them when his uncle, Birdie the Beloved, the best baker on the island, occasionally returns to the family on his brief periods out of jail. When Pynter comes to love a woman, and later flees his family to hide in the canes from the marauding soldiers, he can no longer ignore the violent world beyond the yard where he lives. Pynter Bender is about the conflict between the world of men and women, men who walk away from their families and from the cane fields, and their women who forbear.
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Jacob Ross is the author of two collections of short stories, Song for Simone and Way to Catch the Dust.From Booklist:
The taste of sugarcane is “bitter” for those who labor in the fields below the small village of Old Hope, Grenada, on the slopes of the Mardi Gras mountain. Told from the viewpoint of young Pynter, raised by his extended family of strong women, this debut novel by Caribbean writer Ross sets the boy’s coming-of-age against the history of colonialism and slavery as well as the recent freedom struggle in his close community. The local patois takes some getting used to, but it is immediate and lyrical, and Pynter’s narrative reaches out to universals of love and conflict, past and present, as tension builds on an island waiting to explode. In the midst of conflict, Pynter manages to attend school, and he brings home the classic stories of Sisyphus and Antigone, as well as Shakespeare, opening his mind to a wider world. With the dream of escape, though, he carries with him always “the goading, insistent voices of the women of the yard.” A must for the American Caribbean community, this will also move readers who see the “awful memories” beyond tourist beauty. --Hazel Rochman
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007222971
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110007222971