Title: How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
Author: Cherie Jones
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Tinder Press
Publication Date: 21st January 2021
In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers.
For Wilma, it’s the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result.
When Lala grows up, she sees it offers hope – of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man.
And Mira Whalen? It’s about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn’t get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.
HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE is the powerful, intense story of three marriages, and of a beautiful island paradise where, beyond the white sand beaches and the wealthy tourists, lies poverty, menacing violence and the story of the sacrifices some women make to survive.
The title of How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is what originally drew me to this book and I’m so glad I was afforded the chance to read it because it is exceptional. The story follows three woman, one of them being a young woman named Lala living in Baxter’s Beach, Barbados in the 1980’s. She is heavily pregnant and married to a volatile and violent man. A tragic series of events leads to an intense conclusion which draws Lala and the other women in this brutal story together.
This is a book about women, about marriage and about how women sometimes are forced to make truly difficult decisions in the most uncertain and dangerous of circumstance. It is completely harrowing, unflinching and impossible to look away from. I can’t believe this is a debut, so incredibly assured and powerful is the writing. Jones brings the story of Lala and connects it to Lala’s mother and grandmother in such an affecting manner. She then adds the voice of Mira Whalen, a wealthy woman living in Baxter’s Beach whose husband has just been murdered and ties Mira’s story to Lala as well. Everything is expertly woven together and every single character has such a distinct and compelling voice. There is a great deal of pain in How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and I cannot deny it is a tough read emotionally but it is so worth it. It tells a story of poverty, violence, corruption and abuse in such a raw visceral way that you feel everything these characters are going through. I honestly cannot recommend this bold, stunning and heartbreaking book highly enough.
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.