An island getaway sure sounds luxurious. But, as Nicole Dennis-Benn points out in her stunning debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, it’s not all umbrella drinks and turndown service for the locals.
Such is the case for Margot; her mother, Delores; and her sister, Thandi, who live in River Bank, Jamaica, which feels a world away from anything you might see on a tourist brochure.
Margot is 30 and working at the front desk of the swanky Palm Star Resort. Thandi is 15 and under immense pressure to make a better life for her family. To supplement her income (and make it easier for Thandi to focus on her studies), Margot sleeps with the resort’s wealthy guests for money. Outside of work, Margot is in a secret relationship with a woman, but that, too, is fraught with drama. Sound stressful? It is.
Dennis-Benn, who lived in Kingston until she was 17, expertly juggles themes of race, gender and class while maintaining a sense of authenticity by writing dialogue almost entirely in patois. (Don’t worry, you’ll pick it up fast.)
Here Comes the Sun isn’t exactly a “beach read,” but it will bring new perspective to an experience you thought you knew.