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Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect Nicole Dennis Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turuoise seas At an opulent resort in Montego Bay Margot hustles to send her younger sister Thandi to school Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate When plans for a new hotel threaten their village Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret her forbidden love for another woman As they face the impending destruction of their community each woman?fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves?must confront long hidden scars From a much heralded new writer Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise


10 thoughts on “Here Comes the Sun

  1. says:

    This story takes place Across the Universe in Jamaica and the beautiful bright happy cover may lead you to think Ob La Di Ob La Da This must be a very sunny dreamy Strawberry Fields Forever kind of book But Let it Be known that there is nothing at all happy about this book unless your idea of Happiness is a Warm Gun The characters are written so well and all of their stories are so tragic I couldn't imagine spending A Day in the Life of any of them Oh Darling first you have Margot who wants nothing than to create a better life for her sister Thandi All the Help she gives her and the money she saves comes from Golden Slumbers with men on the side while she also works at a local hotel Because of this Something happens that just takes thing to a new level She can make money but you Can't Buy Me Love she thinks Thandi would rather live in an Octopus's Garden than become a doctor like her family wants She has to Carry That Weight a long time as she knows how hard her family is working to give her a better life although she doesn't know what her sister has been up to She's So Heavy and feels like she could carve her own path by going to art school and being white so people might like her She thinks she can do it on her own or she thinks Maybe I could With a Little Help from My Friends She's Leaving Home She's Getting Better She's Fixing a Hole in her life of feeling stuck and confined to what herfamily wants Not Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite but for herself Her sister Margot also finds herself drawn to another woman which is very very evil in the town Verdene loves Margot anyway and is viewed as a witch by her neighbors but she still thinks to herself she's Got to Get You into My Life For No One will have to know There is so much I Want to Tell You so much I would Love You To Something And Your Bird Can Sing She Says She Says She loved her ever since she Saw Her Standing There Where? I'm not sure Could be Penny Lane The last section of the book is called Here Comes the Sun and I really thought that meant things would be brighter I was wrong but I did love how all the different storylines started to Come Together in The End Things really went Helter Skelter too I wanted to finish it last night but I was all like I'm So Tired I wish I could have finished it Yesterday didn't need any Help finishing this one after A Hard Day's Night though In fact I read almost half of the book in one sitting this morning under the light of the Good Day Sunshine I'll probably still remember this book When I'm Sixty Four Usually if I'm not reading or working I'm Only Sleeping I mean I wish I had Eight Days a Week to read I've looked Here There and Everywhere for great books to read this year and I think this one was an excellent choice Tomorrow Never Knows what I will read next but I hope it's as good as this one I've really gotta Get Back to reading awesome books again Now I'm gonna go think about the different layers of this book and the emotion within its pages While My Guitar Slowly Weeps Hello Goodbye


  2. says:

    “Can’t wait to leave dis godforsaken place” “Is it dat bad? We live by di sea How much people can say dat? Give t’anks”“Maxi shut up wid yuh blessings nonsense This is no paradise At least not for us”so i wasn’t over the moon about this one and i’m not sure why sure it is absolutely unremittingly bleak but that’s never bothered me in a book this is thomas hardy in jamaica; characters caught up in vicious cycles suffering from the aftereffects of bad choices made because of narrow options and causing suffering in others as they struggle to stay afloat thereby narrowing their options and on and on in this interconnected web of exploitation abuse ambition violence poverty and a deep self loathing that causes characters to feel shame for their most elemental traits skin color sexuality genderthis is the book in a nutshell ”’Membah dis nobody love a black girl Not even harself Now get up an’ guh get yuh pay”i was impressed with so much of this there were some really delicate mechanisms at work in the plot’s undercarriage building the impenetrable wall of cause and effectcoincidenceirony which again is the very thing i love so much in thomas hardy but i’m also frustrated by hardy’s characters their decisions their motivations and i felt the same thing here characters who jeopardize their own happiness who betray loved ones who bait their own traps i appreciate these moves as necessary for driving a tragic narrative but there were just too many specific instances here where the motivation wasn’t clear apart from the author wanting to achieve the end result i don’t understand the relationship between thandi and charles which goes from zero to maximum intensity in no time and there are other spoilery things where a very intelligent and strategically minded character with an eye on the long game will make decisions whose conseuences go against self interest etcmaybe i read this at a bad time exhaustion and pain and assorted life garbage have been cluttering my brain so i probably glossed over some of the subtleties in my scatter she’s an excellent writer and there were painfully good images turns of phrase revelations there was just some absence i can’t uite articulate which seems douchey of me to even say but i’m feeling a very high three for this one and as a debut it shows she’s got incredible potential and i promise to read all future books by her with the proper amount of rest beforehandcome to my blog


  3. says:

    When Lauren W came on the Reading Envy Podcast as a guest for Episode 097 she brought this book to talk about It wasn't long before I had to try it and I'm so glad I did How did this book pass me by? It is a novel about three women all related trying to make their way in a small community in Jamaica Delores is the mother and matriarch working hard to make what money she can completely dependent on the waves of tourists coming through Margot her older daughter appears to work in the service industry for one of the top hotels but as the story unveils the truth you learn that she has been selling herself for money and has been doing so within the context of her employment She is saving her money for her younger sister so Thandi can go to school become a doctor and escape this very hard life But Thandi is focused on a skin lightening regimen and working on her art Because she goes to private Catholic school with students who are above her neighborhood's income level she walks a confusing line between poverty and privilege There are other things going on The sex worker industry seems to be part of the hidden world of the most successful hotels and resorts and Margot may not be able to work her way out of that the way she thinks Not only that a new resort is poised to move in on the land where her entire community lives and she may play a role in displacing them Margot is also in love and with a woman who has already been shunned by the community since being gay in Jamaica is still very much against the law and a punishable offense Her neighbors call her a witch and children are afraid of her The character of Delores ends up having secrets than anyone and I was so impressed by how that story was told and also how she is pretty much unapologetic for what she has done What choices do the women in this story have?It is a very well written story and asks the reader to confront their own role in these issues I have visited some of these places mentioned in the book and feel like I have met a Delores and not bought any of her goods It raises the need for conscious travel understanding whether your hotel pays local workers ethically and whether they turn a blind eye to or profit from the trafficking of women and sex I listened to the audio based on Lauren's recommendation and was uite pleased at the nuance and performance of the narrator Bahni Turpin I will be looking for of her performances for sure


  4. says:

    Although a decent story I wanted to like Here Comes the Sun than I actually did I wasn’t expecting a light story having read the synopsis and other reviews in advance yet the book still had a level of somber that I wasn’t anticipating Here Comes the Sun focuses on two sisters living in Jamaica Margot a woman in her early mid 30s working at a hotel predominately occupied by tourists and her sister Thandi a teenager finishing up school and her exams Their mother Delores sells various gifts to tourists in her stall at the pier She is also a central character in the story Delores and Margot work freuently and are banking on Thandi continuing on in school to become a doctor which will lead them to rise above their current economic status While smart and capable Thandi has other aspirations to become an artist At first I was hooked on the story becoming acclimated with the characters their relationships and goals However as the story progressed and background was revealed both Margot and Delores became increasingly unlikable and I uickly began losing interest I understand wanting better for the next generation and doing everything you can to set them up for success but I felt both Delores as a mother and Margot as a woman who claims to want to be independent crossed lines multiple times with minimal if any remorse To me they each appeared to have little self respect I did enjoy the elements of Jamaica incorporated throughout the story As a whole Here Comes the Sun ended up providing a solid story but it’s just not one I’d widely recommend


  5. says:

    I was provided with an ARC by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewDespite the cover and the title “Here Comes the Sun” there is nothing sunny or even happy about this novel To the Jamaican tourists this seaside village and new resort are almost “paradise” as the beautiful beaches and never ending sun combine with the lure of the azure ocean to create a perfect place for a vacation or retreat The native Jamaicans however have suffered greatlyThe novel is written in third person narrative and in many instances the native accent is incorporated into the accounts The dialect takes a bit of getting used to but adds to the feeling of authenticityThe men of Montego Bay had made their living by fishing or farming During the period covered in this book however they had suffered from drought for several years and many of the people had fled or just continued to try and survive many by selling trinkets to the tourists The water which had once held abundant lobster and fish are now just providing enough to sustain the fishermen’s familiesThis story is about several women and how their lives have been shaped by the upheaval in their village Margot is the older sister of Thandi a young girl still in school Margot has done whatever she had to including marketing her sexuality to make money to keep Thandi in the private school She was the one that was supposed to use her intelligence and schooling to continue on and perhaps become a doctor or at any rate a success in life who could then repay her sister and mother for the hardships they endured to send her to schoolThandi however is struggling with what she wants in life Though she is an excellent student her real passion is art Though her teacher encourages her art work her family wants her to concentrate on obtaining a scholarship She is also just discovering her first feelings of womanhood including her attraction to a local boyVerdene had been in London for some years but returned to help provide for her family She is ostracized by the community for they know of her attraction to women which at this time was considered forbidden they even labeled her a “witch” and wouldn’t recognize her even when she went to the marketThis novel is beautifully written with passionate very well described characters I could feel the emotion in their words and actions At times the book is very tense and distressing a glimpse at the darker side of tourism and what happens to the people who are displaced from their former land and homes I feel as though the title is an oxymoron a paradox of what the book is really about The author has certainly done her research about her homeland which is was also the home of her grandmother and great grandmother Addy of whom she states “gave me the courage and freedom to write and live freely”This is a novel I will highly recommend and one whose characters will stay with me for a long time


  6. says:

    Good God This is bleak and sad The moral of the story is don't be poor anywhere and don't be gay in Jamaica


  7. says:

    I’m so grateful that I was one of the judges for the National Book Critic Circle’s Leonard Prize because it gave me an excuse to read six excellent books But among them I couldn’t help but loving this book differently than the rest Written with an intimate knowledge of and understanding of Jamaica Dennis Benn also explores ueerness and race and religion and education – it is an intersectional novel if there ever was one It’s also dramatic sad and had me crying in the end I can’t wait to see what else this brilliant debut novelist writes–Ilana Masadfrom The Best Books We Read In January 2017 Don’t be fooled by the sunny title and cover of this novel set in the resorts and ghettos of Jamaica Here Comes the Sun is a novel about three women in one family who make desperate decisions to save themselves and each other Mostly it is about Margot who landed a prestigious job at a resort despite coming from a poor village Betrayed by her mother when she was young she is determined that her younger sister Thandi won’t suffer the same fate Margot does whatever she must to afford private school for Thandi with the promise of college and financial deliverance for the family She keeps unspeakable secrets but she doesn’t realize her mother and sister have secrets of their own This book is a dark exploration of the sacrifices we make in the name of family and how sometimes we destroy the very thing we’re trying to save I had to brace myself every time I sat down to read this book and dived into the tumult of Margot’s life I read it the way I read a thriller holding my breath waiting for the next new revelation It’s Shakespearean level drama and compulsively readable— Jessica Woodburyfrom The Best Books We Read In March


  8. says:

    What an amazing book This book captured so many different themes that can be problematic to all people but especially people of color is desperate and dire situations The problems of intergenerational damage the cycle of hurting those around you as a result of you being hurt the cycle of poverty environmental racism modern day colonialism colorism homophobia stigmas against women in Jamaica This book was just everything Like others have said do not let the cover of this book make you think this book is some fun island adventure because it is not But it is a true and realistic story of the types of real life experiences you would find in families and black people all over the world READ THIS BOOK


  9. says:

    Here Comes the Sun centers on the fraught bond between a Jamaican woman her elderly mother and her teenaged sister Margot is a hotel worker who dreams of greatness for her precocious sister Thandi and is willing to help her at any cost as is their sullen mother Delores Thandi meanwhile feels alienated from her wealthier peers at school longs for social acceptance and wishes to become an artist The work’s first third is a uiet thoughtful character study of the three women; the writer truly excels at sketching the inner lives of her protagonists as they navigate daily strife Unfortunately a series of plot twists soon rock the story and the women set out on jarring new directions with different ends in mind Thandi pursues an intense romance with a local boy Margot starts an underground ring of exploitative sex work for personal gain Delores becomes unhinged The characterization feels inconsistent and increasingly one dimensional and the problem’s made worse by a series of flashbacks full of revelations that feel inorganic


  10. says:

    I almost abandoned this book in the early going and now it’s one of my favorites of the year I can’t believe how close I came to missing outFor whatever reason Here Comes the Sun was a really slow starter for me The characters all clearly have secrets but they are slow to reveal them—so slow I wondered if we’d ever find out for sure what happened in each of their pasts But then all the proverbial other shoes start dropping and from that point on it’s an all consuming storm of resentment greed and betrayal It’s a family tragedy Shakespeare could have written Delores has two daughters Margot and Thandi born over ten years apart Delores and Margot have major baggage between them but one thing they can agree on is that they want better for Thandi and they throw all their energy into providing for her Margot works the front desk in a fancy Montego Bay hotel a job which positions her perfectly for her other job as a prostitute Margot is pragmatic; she tells herself it’s all worth it so that Thandi can go to a good school and become a doctor But Thandi might have other ideas about her future—and trust me that brewing conflict is just the tip of the iceberg with these womenEarly on this book felt like another deep character study—which it is—but it also turned out to be absolutely pitch perfect plot wise This summer I have been craving good plot development like chocolate If something isn’t happening to advance the story I’m tapping my foot and sighing loudly Once the scene setting and character introducing is over and the shocking revelations start rolling in one after another you’ll be hooked until the bitter end And I use the word “bitter” VERY deliberately I have a feeling those last couple chapters will haunt me for some timeMy one regret is that I went with the ebook version instead of the audio I would love to hear what a talented voice actor could do with the musical patois the dialogue is written in Nicole Dennis Benn is at the top of her form even as a debut novelist Highest possible recommendation With regards to Liveright and NetGalley for the review copy On sale nowMore book recommendations by me at wwwreadingwithhipposcom