A THIEF IN THE VILLAGE And Other Stories by James Berry


Email this review


A collection of short stories from a Jamaican poet, featuring a cast of young, rural island characters who face. heroically and otherwise, a variety of pressures and situations. Becky wants a bicycle so that she can ride with the ""Wheels-and-Brake Boys""; Nenna and Man-Man help capture a thief; a boy reflects on the magic of Sunday ("". . .all other days run into Sunday""). Whether the focus is as small as a mouth organ, as dramatic as the battle to save a prized banana tree from a hurricane, as common as casual cruelty to a social outcast, or as quiet and poignant as a young boy's sudden need to see his father for the first time, Berry captures universal themes and behavior in stories that are simply told--yet rich with the humor, tragedy, injustice, and warm feelings of daily life in an impoverished but kindred culture. The author's language evokes the sound of Jamaican English without trying to copy it; the dialect thickens occasionally (""Das true wha' Pappy say. . . The good Lord won' gi' we more than we can bear""), but readers won't find the stories difficult to read, nor the lively characters hard to understand. As in daily life, some of the incidents here lack resolution; still, this is an imaginative, well-told collection.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1988
ISBN: 0812485211
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Orchard/Watts