11 hours ago
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Cannonball Read #6: Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez
This book explores familiar themes such as the relationship between a mother and a daughter and returning home. But it also uses the backdrop of Trinidad from colonial times forward to explain the tensions that exist in this family. The idea of Anna's 'inbetween"-ness existed all the way from childhood. Anna grew up alongside the "English" children but couldn't belong due to the inherent racism of the time and her family coped (as many Trinidadian families in the same situation) by adhering to the ideals set forth as proper by the British strictly.
Upon Anna's return she finds out that her mother has breast cancer but instead of going to the doctor, she has resorted to praying over her rosary in an effort to make the cancer go away. The book tries to reconcile Anna's belief in the power of America over her mother's insistence that Trinidad's ways are just as valid.
Having lived in the US for about 4 years, I can relate to Anna's concern over the seemingly "backwards" or inefficient ways in which some things are done in Trinidad. You have to come to terms with the fact that the culture and way of doing things is quite different from one country to the other. Nunez wove a story that really captured Trinidad cultural contradictions and the love that Trinidadians at home have for their country. She also captured the yearning that all emigrants feel when they leave their home country for another and how things really can never be the same once you leave.