THE BRIDGE OF BEYOND by Simone Schwarz-Bart


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A dreamy tale of how ia young Guadeloupe black can turn into a medicine woman, rather too much in the vein of her husband's recent A Woman Named Solitude. Telumee is abandoned by her vivacious mother to live with her rather odd grandmother in the woods, where she acquires the mute knowledge of the birds and trees, as well as more specific charms from Ma Cia, who disappears one day by turning into a dog. There are the customary rites of passage -- suffering from a faithless husband, the early death of a second husband in his attempts to establish a workers' union, finally a retreat into the wilderness -- all of which are apparently necessary before eccentricity can become revered as wisdom and passed on to the younger generation. Maybe the difficulty of capturing the essence of an existence for which we have no other term than ""primitive"" is not limited to those of European ancestry; for the author is a native Guadeloupan who writes in a French most ably translated by Barbara Bray; what comes out is a vague, wandering discourse, too specific for myth and yet not precise enough for fiction.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1974
Publisher: Atheneum