CHILDREN OF KAYWANA by Edgar Mittelholzer


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Far from the curious, satiric levantine of Shadows Move Among Them, this draws against historical fact, takes its pitch from the fevered unrest of British Guiana in the early 17th century, and traces the cycle of the children of Kaywana in a six-generation chronology. Savage, sensuous, direct, the native girl Kaywana left an heredity of mixed blood which was also ""fire blood, fighter blood"" to the children she bore von Groenwegel, he Commandeur of the colony. And her embattled spirit has its fullest bloom in Hendrickje, who flays the weakling artist she marries to the point of self-destruction, and exerts a dreadful tyranny over her two sons; -Cornelis, who escapes through homosexuality; Adrian who levels a defiance which has its revenge through his marriage to a native girl, Rosaria, and fathering of a swarm of halfbreed children. But Adrian is nonetheless her victim, as well as Rosaria, who is killed by her own child at Hendrickje's instigation, and Hendrickje carries on alone to make a last unreasonable stand in the face of native rebellion.... The whiplash of pride and power, the driven fury of a hellcat's brood matches the ferment of these times in a savage symphony which is not without its raw vitality.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1952
Publisher: John Day