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How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

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A debut novel in the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, from a brilliant Caribbean writer, set in Barbados, about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called "paradise." In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed ex-pats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs. A debut novel in the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, from a brilliant Caribbean writer, set in Barbados, about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called "paradise." In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed ex-pats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs. Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the Baxter Beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom -- and their lives.


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A debut novel in the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, from a brilliant Caribbean writer, set in Barbados, about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called "paradise." In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed ex-pats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs. A debut novel in the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, from a brilliant Caribbean writer, set in Barbados, about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called "paradise." In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed ex-pats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs. Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the Baxter Beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom -- and their lives.

30 review for How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    What are secrets but things we want to forget? I was yesterday years old when I discovered this existed . . . . Turns out I’ve read nearly all of their selections. And not only read them, but liked them all as well. I won’t lie and say I immediately knew How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House was going to be a winner for me. I didn’t really remember what it was about when I started it – I just remembered I had an ARC. There were MANY characters and the timeline did the wibbly wobbly to p What are secrets but things we want to forget? I was yesterday years old when I discovered this existed . . . . Turns out I’ve read nearly all of their selections. And not only read them, but liked them all as well. I won’t lie and say I immediately knew How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House was going to be a winner for me. I didn’t really remember what it was about when I started it – I just remembered I had an ARC. There were MANY characters and the timeline did the wibbly wobbly to provide histories and backstories. But once I settled in and started “getting” the way it was being delivered, I never put it down. This is the story of a young woman, her abusive husband, their dead baby, her mother, a grandmother, a widow, a childhood friend and a detective. It is about a robbery gone wrong. An accident so bad it has to be covered up. It’s about drug dealing and wife beating and exchanging whatever wares you have to offer for the American tourist dollar. It is unrelenting in its agony. A true skillet to the face type of story. It takes you from the present to the past to provide a fully painted portrait of its characters and it is woven together almost seamlessly. Thanks to the MacMillan Reading Insiders Club for offering selections I don’t even know I want until you tell me about them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    The story opens with a Grandmother telling her daughter a tale about two sisters, a good sister and a “bad” sister. The bad sister went to a place she was told not to go to because there were monsters and got one of her arms bitten off, leaving her with one functioning arm. The Grandmother told this story to her granddaughter as a cautionary tale, but with every cautionary tale there is one brave persons wanting to see for themselves. The real story of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House The story opens with a Grandmother telling her daughter a tale about two sisters, a good sister and a “bad” sister. The bad sister went to a place she was told not to go to because there were monsters and got one of her arms bitten off, leaving her with one functioning arm. The Grandmother told this story to her granddaughter as a cautionary tale, but with every cautionary tale there is one brave persons wanting to see for themselves. The real story of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is set in a small beach town in Barbados. We meet hair-braider Lala is about Lala who is about to give birth but her husband, Adan is now where to be found. She finally tracks her Husband as he is in the middle of a “job”, she gives birth to her baby. The next day her husband is no where to be found and the island is alive with news of the murder of a rich white tourist. The author takes us into the life of Lala, struggling to make a life for herself, to be the wife she should be, but her past keeps catching up to her. Themes of poverty, sexual abuse, poverty, crime, prostitution and murder was explored. I particularly loved hearing of Lala’s relationship with her Grandmother and how she grew up. There is a lot going on in this book and I did enjoy how fast paced a read it was. I felt the ending tied up a bit too fast but overall, it was a solid debut novel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    After listening to “How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones (narrated by Danielle Vitalis), I don’t want to go to Barbados. This story takes place in fictional Baxter’s Beach, a place that attracts wealthy tourists. And Jones shows the seedy underbelly of the upscale vacation land. I’m sure most tourists notice the poverty that most Caribbean islanders endure, whether that be Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Antigua, etc. The wealth of the visitors must spark anger in the islanders, After listening to “How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones (narrated by Danielle Vitalis), I don’t want to go to Barbados. This story takes place in fictional Baxter’s Beach, a place that attracts wealthy tourists. And Jones shows the seedy underbelly of the upscale vacation land. I’m sure most tourists notice the poverty that most Caribbean islanders endure, whether that be Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Antigua, etc. The wealth of the visitors must spark anger in the islanders, and Jones decided to write about that. The title is a cautionary tale told at the beginning of the novel, that is used to keep girls in line and listen/obey. No one wants to end up like the one-armed sister who didn’t listen. Sadly, LaLa, one of the main characters, didn’t heed her grandmother’s warning and finds herself pregnant at 18 with a gangster husband. LaLa’s story is sad enough, and then Jones introduces Mira, who dug herself out of the poverty by marrying a wealthy British man, and that man ends up being shot in the beginning of the story. Mira’s anguish is distressing through the entire story. LaLa’s husband Adan is a sociopath who creates turmoil wherever he goes. He’s an islander who is a grifter with brutality instincts. One could say he was raised that way. The three characters collide making this one of the saddest stories I’ve listened to. What is a tropical beautiful island to visitors is a brutal and depressing life to the islanders. This is beautifully written and narrated perfectly. It should come with a cautionary warning: You will be devastated after reading this one. The story illuminates the ongoing issues of race, class and poverty and generational trauma.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    The intriguingly named “How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones is one powerful and raw debut novel, that is both heart wrenching and brutal and not for the faint hearted. Set in Baxter’s Beach Barbados, we see both sides to this beautiful tropical island. The views and thoughts from the tourists visiting their place in paradise and through the eyes of the local Bajans, poor and jobless and living in ramshackle houses, in an often violent and brutal environment. This is a story The intriguingly named “How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones is one powerful and raw debut novel, that is both heart wrenching and brutal and not for the faint hearted. Set in Baxter’s Beach Barbados, we see both sides to this beautiful tropical island. The views and thoughts from the tourists visiting their place in paradise and through the eyes of the local Bajans, poor and jobless and living in ramshackle houses, in an often violent and brutal environment. This is a story featuring three women. Wilma, who relates the cautionary tale of the one-armed sister to Lala, her granddaughter. Lala, still hoping for a decent life, knowing she’s married the wrong man and after loosing her newborn baby in the most tragic of circumstances. And Mira Whalen, trying to stay alive after her husband Peter is killed in a bungled robbery at their villa, knowing she won’t be able to tell him how much she loved him after all. This story is incredibly powerful and at times exceedingly hard to read. The author hasn’t held anything back when it comes to the horrors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The thoughts of the victims are intense and emotional and because the narrative is so convincing it’s pretty easy to really get in their troubled heads alongside their true feelings. The story unfolds in a multitude of the characters timelines, following their younger years through to the current time. The ending tied up nicely the three stories and along with Adan and Tone, the two central male protagonists, I felt the climax was engaging and thrilling. If like me you enjoyed reading “My Sister the Serial Killer”, you should enjoy this too. Cherie Jones is a very talented author, that I will follow in the future with any further novels and I wish her every success with this strong and compassionate tale of women, who live to fight and survive male violence.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown &Company for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. This novel set in Barbados tackles themes of poverty, domestic abuse, drug trafficking and the relationships between mothers and daughters. Admittedly, it took me a while to become comfortable with the multi-character narrative but I did pick up the rhythm eventually. In the end, I gave this 3 stars. Publication Date 02/02/21 Goodreads Review 14/02/21

  6. 4 out of 5

    Basic B's Guide

    Trigger heavy for domestic abuse this felt like it was trauma after trauma. I went into this one with high expectations and the writing is stunning in this debut but my heart just hurts. Having listened to the author on GMAs Instagram tell us 3 reasons to read her book I felt like I was unprepared for the darkness. The audiobook narration was haunting and intoxicating. Just guard your hearts and make sure you’re in the right headspace for this story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    I loved this book. It was better than I expected, but I don't really know what I was expecting. I listened to the audio version and I found the narrator's voice to be both haunting and intoxicating. I was immediately sucked in. That being said, this book is filled with *a lot* of trauma. It was difficult to read, but so well written and so important. I loved this book. It was better than I expected, but I don't really know what I was expecting. I listened to the audio version and I found the narrator's voice to be both haunting and intoxicating. I was immediately sucked in. That being said, this book is filled with *a lot* of trauma. It was difficult to read, but so well written and so important.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Callie Browning

    How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her house primarily tells the story of Lala Primus, a young woman whose life bears curses and trauma that she isn’t even fully aware of. The name of the book is derived from a legend her grandmother tells her to scare her; one which will eventually lead to her literal salvation. This Caribbean book shines an unflinching light on issues that affect people from all races and ethnicities and doesn’t shy away from dispensing the very real possibilities of these issues How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her house primarily tells the story of Lala Primus, a young woman whose life bears curses and trauma that she isn’t even fully aware of. The name of the book is derived from a legend her grandmother tells her to scare her; one which will eventually lead to her literal salvation. This Caribbean book shines an unflinching light on issues that affect people from all races and ethnicities and doesn’t shy away from dispensing the very real possibilities of these issues’ repercussions. Where this book shines is in the richness of its characters and the simplicity of its plot. What I loved: the writing is an ode to poetry. It skips blithely along with a rhythm that feels like sailing on calm seas. The characters are finely honed. The plot doesn’t have any twists, instead relying on the characters’ back story to add shading to their motivations and complications. This is an excellent read for those seeking well-presented characters in a tropical setting with some hard-hitting truths.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Monica **can't read fast enough**

    I was fortunate and received an ARC of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones and I am so happy to have been able to read this debut early. Jones has created complex characters facing hardships, abuses, and obstacles in a way that is heart wrenching. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House begins with events that are hard to read and immediately pulls you into the center of an event that sets the tone for the entire book. The writing is beautiful while telling stories that a I was fortunate and received an ARC of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones and I am so happy to have been able to read this debut early. Jones has created complex characters facing hardships, abuses, and obstacles in a way that is heart wrenching. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House begins with events that are hard to read and immediately pulls you into the center of an event that sets the tone for the entire book. The writing is beautiful while telling stories that are disturbing. I still find myself thinking about these characters, especially Lala. This isn't a story that I simply enjoyed and moved on from, this will linger with me for a long time. There is a lot of trauma experienced in this book if you need that warning before going in, it is disturbing and uncomfortable to read at times, but essential to what Cherie Jones gives her readers. I don't give a ton of direct book recommendations to people other than saying what I enjoy for myself, but this is one that I will be throwing out whenever asked for a recommendation. I originally thought that I would give this four stars because of the fairly quick ending, but when I read something that keeps me thinking about it for weeks after, I have to say it's a five star read for me and I will undoubtedly be rereading it in the future. I highly recommend picking up a copy and supporting this talented author. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Where you can find me: •(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)• Twitter: @monicaisreading Instagram: @readermonica Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Shindler

    Cherie Jones has written a powerful debut novel that seizes your attention and never lets go. It tells the story of several generations of two Bajan women, focusing on the unbroken cycle of poverty, violence, racism and despair that continuously repeats itself.The protagonist, Lala, is a teenaged bride who is married to a petty criminal,and is pregnant at the story’s outset. Through a tragic incident Lala is inextricably linked to Mira Whalen, a Bajan Redleg who has escaped poverty by marrying a Cherie Jones has written a powerful debut novel that seizes your attention and never lets go. It tells the story of several generations of two Bajan women, focusing on the unbroken cycle of poverty, violence, racism and despair that continuously repeats itself.The protagonist, Lala, is a teenaged bride who is married to a petty criminal,and is pregnant at the story’s outset. Through a tragic incident Lala is inextricably linked to Mira Whalen, a Bajan Redleg who has escaped poverty by marrying a wealthy Englishman.They now live in England but are vacationing in their villa in Barbados. The investigation of this incident drives the story forward and incorporates a wealth of characters, introducing the men who are linked to these women and the role the men play in perpetuating the cycles of violence,abuse and despair that stalk the women. This book is not a mystery or thriller. There is no “ who done it.” The initial incident is a springboard for Ms Jones’ lyrical and sometimes brutal examination of poverty,class and racism. The novel unfolds its story through the perspectives of many alternating characters and different time periods.The narrative never loses focus and is a brisk and emotionally charged read. The title of the novel refers to a cautionary tale that Lala’s grandmother tells about two sisters who take different approaches to an adventure in a cave.The more adventurous sister loses her arm. Presumably, this tale is a metaphor for how to approach life and survive. Lala’ life story is more in the arc of the one armed sister. At the novel’s conclusion, though, there is a possible sliver of hope that ties into the novel’s title. Rush to read this one.It is different and affecting but not for the faint of heart.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diane Yannick

    I really wanted to rate this book much lower. After some thought, I decided that I couldn’t bash a book due to my discomfort. I was uncomfortable because of the violence and abuse these characters experienced. It was UNRELENTING. Perhaps like living a ghetto life in Barbados. I wanted some relief from the suffering and in my world that would be possible. So Cherie Jones, a writer/attorney in Barbados effectively took me where I didn’t want to go. I almost became a reader who said, “This book is I really wanted to rate this book much lower. After some thought, I decided that I couldn’t bash a book due to my discomfort. I was uncomfortable because of the violence and abuse these characters experienced. It was UNRELENTING. Perhaps like living a ghetto life in Barbados. I wanted some relief from the suffering and in my world that would be possible. So Cherie Jones, a writer/attorney in Barbados effectively took me where I didn’t want to go. I almost became a reader who said, “This book is too depressing. It’s fiction so lighten it up.” Although I was a bit hopeful at the end, I realize that many live with little hope for a safe life. The story was well told. I could picture the lush yet harsh setting. I was fascinated by the ladies who braided hair on the beach. More than a way to make a few dollars, it gave gave them purpose, peaceful respite, and a human connection. The tale at the beginning and title were clever. I will not soon forget Adan, Tone or Lala. So read the summaries and decide whether you want to spend time in this world. I didn’t enjoy reading this book but I’m glad I did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jthbooks

    Let me state this now, I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much. I had high hopes, but this book surpassed them in every way. It is absolutely one of my favourite reads of the 2020, there is no doubt about that. It was in my top 10 of the year for 2020. It’s the book I’ve been recommending to everyone. So I’m absolutely recommending it to you. It’s brilliant. I don’t want to say to much about the plot of this book, I want you to experience it for yourself. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Let me state this now, I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much. I had high hopes, but this book surpassed them in every way. It is absolutely one of my favourite reads of the 2020, there is no doubt about that. It was in my top 10 of the year for 2020. It’s the book I’ve been recommending to everyone. So I’m absolutely recommending it to you. It’s brilliant. I don’t want to say to much about the plot of this book, I want you to experience it for yourself. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (can I quickly mention what a fantastic title that is) is at times heartbreaking and it also at points made my stomach drop. It’s so immersive and I was absolutely enraptured from the beginning, I really was. It’s beautiful, it has something to say We follow multiple perspectives in How The One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House and they are all fantastic. I mean, my heart now belongs to Lala. Lala is one of our main protagonists along with Mrs Whalen. They are brilliant and complex. There’s also Adan and Tone. All the characters are so well crafted. I also loved how Cherie, mentioned characters throughout this novel and then they got their chapter perspectives and they are brilliant. It made the whole book feel so connected. My favourite is character that you get a snippet of is Sheba. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is the kind of book you can’t stop thinking about. I would be baking cakes at work and thinking of Lala. Or be thinking about where the plot was going to go. Or how I wanted to get home and read it. It’s also the kind of book you tell everyone about. I was telling everyone at work about this. Most of them don’t read (sad I know) but I just had to let them know about this book and how it was consuming all my thoughts. The writing is absolutely phenomenal, Cherie has such a wonderful way with words. Chapter 25 is a masterpiece. The writing is just so assured. It’s so powerful and emotive. There are also some really tough moments in this book, but Cherie handles them so honestly. This is Cherie’s debut and it’s one of the best debuts I’ve ever reads. It’s so assured. I just think this book is outstanding. I don’t reread books but I know I’ll be rereading this one, just to experience the beautiful writing again. By the end of this novel, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. There was so much building up towards the end and there was such an atmosphere. I couldn’t believe what was happening and Cherie paced it perfectly. I won’t say anymore. All I’ll say it didn’t disappoint me in anyway. I also had to put the book down and really take in what happened. Ugh, it was so good. I can’t recommend this book enough. Could you tell I loved it? Please read it. It’s a powerful, intimate debut that is unforgettable. I’m already looking forward to what Cherie writes next. Thank you to Antonia at Tinder Press for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out on January 21st.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susie | Novel Visits

    I knew very little about 𝐇𝐎𝗪 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐎𝐍𝐄-𝐀𝐑𝐌𝐄𝐃 𝐒𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐒𝗪𝐄𝐄𝐏𝐒 𝐇𝐄𝐑 𝐇𝐎𝐔𝐒𝐄 before listening to it, but I did know that with a title like that it had to be engaging, and boy was I right. Debut author Cherie Jones tells the story of Lala, a hair-braider and new mother from Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, a lovely spot for tourists, but not as much for locals. Lala finds herself married to Adan, a petty criminal (and maybe more) who also happens to have a violent streak that Lala regularly sees up close and pers I knew very little about 𝐇𝐎𝗪 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐎𝐍𝐄-𝐀𝐑𝐌𝐄𝐃 𝐒𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐒𝗪𝐄𝐄𝐏𝐒 𝐇𝐄𝐑 𝐇𝐎𝐔𝐒𝐄 before listening to it, but I did know that with a title like that it had to be engaging, and boy was I right. Debut author Cherie Jones tells the story of Lala, a hair-braider and new mother from Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, a lovely spot for tourists, but not as much for locals. Lala finds herself married to Adan, a petty criminal (and maybe more) who also happens to have a violent streak that Lala regularly sees up close and personal. (Leaving me to mention that there might be triggers for some, including physical and sexual violence.)⁣ ⁣ To a lesser degree, this is also the story of Mrs. Whalen, a sudden widow, trying to find her footing. Jones weaves together the stories of these two women giving the reader a feel for much more than the tourist side of the island. The story started right out on disturbing notes, but was done so well, that the more I listened the more my heart broke for Lala, and the more I wanted her to find a different path. Narrator Danielle Vitalis did a beautiful job with this book, easily slipping into the different points of view and adding a gentle flare to distinguish each of the characters. 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘖𝘯𝘦-𝘈𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘚𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘚𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘴 𝘏𝘦𝘳 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 is a book I can highly recommend, and on audio? Even better!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Set in a small beach community in Barbados in the mid-1980's How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House tells of the relationships & clashes between the locals and the rich tourists & ex-pats. One night after an attempted robbery at an ex-pat's mansion goes bad, a number of events occur that leave several lives shattered. I enjoyed this one! The audiobook was great. This was the author's debut novel and I will be following her to see what else she writes. Set in a small beach community in Barbados in the mid-1980's How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House tells of the relationships & clashes between the locals and the rich tourists & ex-pats. One night after an attempted robbery at an ex-pat's mansion goes bad, a number of events occur that leave several lives shattered. I enjoyed this one! The audiobook was great. This was the author's debut novel and I will be following her to see what else she writes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Liz Hein

    How The One Armed Sister Sweeps her house starts with a parable relating to the title and comes full circle so beautifully- that’s one of my very favorite things in fiction. This is the story of both ex-pats and locals in Barbados and a violent incident that connects them all. We see very different sides of life, and much of this book is excruciating to read as it is an exploration of generational trauma and its impacts on families. This plot moves, and I don’t want to say too much about it as i How The One Armed Sister Sweeps her house starts with a parable relating to the title and comes full circle so beautifully- that’s one of my very favorite things in fiction. This is the story of both ex-pats and locals in Barbados and a violent incident that connects them all. We see very different sides of life, and much of this book is excruciating to read as it is an exploration of generational trauma and its impacts on families. This plot moves, and I don’t want to say too much about it as it’s best to just experience it yourself. This isn’t a mystery, but it reads like one and you will not be able to tear yourself away. It does require concentration though, as we jump through different POVs and timelines. The characters are complicated and developed, and I’m stunned this is a debut. I know I didn’t say too much about the story, but I am absolutely saying this is a book to pick up!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Goodness, that was emotional, especially the last few chapters! A story so full of tragedy, you wonder how anyone can ever pick up the pieces to move on with life. An absolutely brilliant debut.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole (Bookiesandtea)

    The title intrigued me in picking this up to read. I listened to it on audio and the lyrical style of writing was prominent throughout. The story revolves around the haves and have nots in a Caribbean tourist town. There are several POVs but the main character is Lala. Lala is a woman who is abused by her husband and works as a hair braider to the tourists. One night afraid she is losing her baby, she goes off searching for her husband. After hearing a gunshot, she finds him running out of one of The title intrigued me in picking this up to read. I listened to it on audio and the lyrical style of writing was prominent throughout. The story revolves around the haves and have nots in a Caribbean tourist town. There are several POVs but the main character is Lala. Lala is a woman who is abused by her husband and works as a hair braider to the tourists. One night afraid she is losing her baby, she goes off searching for her husband. After hearing a gunshot, she finds him running out of one of the wealthy beach houses with blood on him. That gunshot sets off some tragic and heartbreaking events. A women loses her husband and a new mom loses her daughter. One woman being wealthy and the other poor, but their grief connects them in ways they don't realize. This story is set on the backdrops of picturesque beaches and tranquility set in the 1980s with frequent flashbacks to multigenerations past. A story of multigenerational abuse, domestic violence, rape, lies, struggles, and a will to survive. It is one of race and class. And what ones will do to be on top. I enjoyed this book but struggled to get through the audio version and wish I had the physical book to read more of the lyrical poetic style of writing. Overall, a powerful debut novel!

  18. 5 out of 5

    2TReads

    3.5/4 stars This story was told in the tone and with a flare that is markedly Caribbean, with themes and characters that felt very real in how they dealt with and carried their lot in life. The lies, relationships, and abuse are situations that most from the region will be able to understand and empathize with. Content warning for domestic abuse, rape, and death of an infant. In a word, this story is gripping. From the cautionary tale of the tunnels, I was invested in how this would unfold and was 3.5/4 stars This story was told in the tone and with a flare that is markedly Caribbean, with themes and characters that felt very real in how they dealt with and carried their lot in life. The lies, relationships, and abuse are situations that most from the region will be able to understand and empathize with. Content warning for domestic abuse, rape, and death of an infant. In a word, this story is gripping. From the cautionary tale of the tunnels, I was invested in how this would unfold and was not disappointed. Jones has written a narrative that is wholly Caribbean and so familiar. The relationships, interactions, existence, friendships, families, and experiences of each and every character. The deftness with which she layered each characters' stories was smooth and served to sweep the reader from house to road to beach to rich to poor and back again. It is bursting with life, peopled with characters with attitudes that reach from the page and envelope you, with prose and dialogue that drops you right in the middle of Baxter's beach and the homes and communities of the rich and poor respectively; the actions that lead to poor decisions, that then cascade down and outward unraveling and revealing the connections that join our players in ways known and unknown to each other. Lala wants to lead a life her way and not how her grandmother says and when she marries Adan, along the way she wonders who he is and who she is becoming. Living a life waiting on the jaws of the law to reach them, clamping down and cutting her off from her freedom, and when tragedy strikes, Lala knows that she has to escape now before it is too late. It is an exploration of what forces join strangers in a community, an island where there is a clear line of who has and who has to struggle, but the hand of fate will always be there to stir it all up like a good pot of Satday soup. What I could have done without is a few tropes that are too often used with respect to the Caribbean sphere. You will know when you see it. Big Ups to the narrator who definitely captured the lilt and tone of bajans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    First thanks to @netgalley and @harpercollinsca for providing me with an ARC. This book just came out this last week on Feb 2. This is Jones’ debut novel and it packs a punch. It follows four people in Barbados who are each desperate for different things. The book begins with a grandmother telling her granddaughter about two sisters — a good one and a bad one — the bad who went somewhere she wasn’t supposed to and got one of her arms bitten off. The book takes place in the early 80s, with flashba First thanks to @netgalley and @harpercollinsca for providing me with an ARC. This book just came out this last week on Feb 2. This is Jones’ debut novel and it packs a punch. It follows four people in Barbados who are each desperate for different things. The book begins with a grandmother telling her granddaughter about two sisters — a good one and a bad one — the bad who went somewhere she wasn’t supposed to and got one of her arms bitten off. The book takes place in the early 80s, with flashbacks to the 70s, as we follow a series of characters impacted by the same event. There was a lot going on in this book and alternated between different perspectives, which I like, but in this one I had to really make sure to remember which story line was which. Jones’ writing is phenomenal and vivid and gives you a unique look into the island of Barbados. CW: poverty, abuse, crime, prostitution and murder. I’ll definitely be reading more by Cherie Jones. Also how beautiful is this cover?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jael Richardson

    Wonderful story set on Baxter's Beach, Barbados. Murder, madness, mystery. Unique narrative voice. Wonderful story set on Baxter's Beach, Barbados. Murder, madness, mystery. Unique narrative voice.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joey Rajewski

    I had high hopes for this book considering the beautiful cover & it left me feeling blah. A heartbreaking & depressing read with subject matter including rape, infidelity, abuse, kidnapping & murder. The struggles these characters suffered were almost too much to bear- one step forward; two steps back story struggling to find hope for any of these characters. I listened to the audio for this book. I may have enjoyed it more if I read it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dinah Moore

    Bravo @cheriejoneswrites ! Excellent debut. The characters are woven and presented in an unforgettable way. Not once did I have to turn back and remember anything about Wilma, Peter, the first Mrs. Whalen, Tone , Sargent Beckles.. I know them. I think it speaks to Jones’ talent that she has illustrated a complete story without being overbearing with the details. I have mostly mentioned characters but this is a plot driven book that centers around the cycle of abuse. I don’t want to spoil this tale fo Bravo @cheriejoneswrites ! Excellent debut. The characters are woven and presented in an unforgettable way. Not once did I have to turn back and remember anything about Wilma, Peter, the first Mrs. Whalen, Tone , Sargent Beckles.. I know them. I think it speaks to Jones’ talent that she has illustrated a complete story without being overbearing with the details. I have mostly mentioned characters but this is a plot driven book that centers around the cycle of abuse. I don’t want to spoil this tale for anyone . It isn’t a long ride—less than 300 pages but like any roller coaster, it’s wild and almost heart-stopping at times. This book will give you all the feels. I just want to say that my heart really broke for Esme, Tone, and even Lala. I can’t get over it. I will read anything this author writes. Automatically. Without question. I can say with almost certainty that this will be in (at the very least) my #topten for the year. I also want to say that it is sort of sad to know that I’ve read this book—but the mass people of Barbados have not. I can’t pretend to know anything about publishing but it just shocks me that we are allowed to enjoy this author’s work before her own people. I know Cherie has a strong support system with some awesome fans so I can only hope that they don’t have to wait too long for the experience. Trigger warnings: -death of a child -domestic/physical abuse “You understand that if you must learn to love a man, he is probably not the man you should be loving.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan Tristao

    Oof. This is the type of story 2015 Megan would have loved. And it was an excellent book, but there was so much trauma, so make sure you're in the right frame of mind to pick it up. The book follows several characters in the aftermath of the murder of a white tourist in a small beach town on Barbados. I particularly appreciated how the author occasionally included chapters about other minor characters in the story, or went back in time to explain certain characters' childhoods or experiences of Oof. This is the type of story 2015 Megan would have loved. And it was an excellent book, but there was so much trauma, so make sure you're in the right frame of mind to pick it up. The book follows several characters in the aftermath of the murder of a white tourist in a small beach town on Barbados. I particularly appreciated how the author occasionally included chapters about other minor characters in the story, or went back in time to explain certain characters' childhoods or experiences of their family members, which created an excellent multigenerational sense of the town and its inhabitants. Note on the audio: I don't typically listen to literary fiction on audio, but this was one of Libro.fm's ALC offerings so I decided to try it. The narrator was fantastic and I actually listened to the book close to regular speed (I'm usually a 1.5-2x listener), partly because of the narrator's accent and partly to keep the tension taut. There were times I was listening and thinking, "Wow I'm glad I'm not reading this on the page because I'd be so tempted to look ahead to see if this turns out okay!!" *heart beats quickly* Thanks to Libro.fm for a free advance listening copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Randi (readsrandiread)

    I’ve sat with my feeling on this book (audiobook: thank you @librofm for the ALC!) for a week now and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it or how I’m going to rate it. ⁣ ⁣ For starters, let’s tackle how it’s being promoted as a “gripping thriller.” Yeah, no! This is not thrilling, it is not exciting or nail-biting. This is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching from beginning to end. To me a thriller is entertaining, this is not entertainment, it is deeply affecting however. The trigger warn I’ve sat with my feeling on this book (audiobook: thank you @librofm for the ALC!) for a week now and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it or how I’m going to rate it. ⁣ ⁣ For starters, let’s tackle how it’s being promoted as a “gripping thriller.” Yeah, no! This is not thrilling, it is not exciting or nail-biting. This is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching from beginning to end. To me a thriller is entertaining, this is not entertainment, it is deeply affecting however. The trigger warnings this book should come with are many. I’m happy to share my list of possible triggers with anyone who wants them. ⁣ ⁣ That being said, I can agree that this is a stunningly written debut novel and a well-narrated audiobook. I also think it would provide amble discussions for a book club (like @gmabookclub, though I wish they were doing a better job of setting people up to be prepared for what they are getting into). It has so many things going on (all tragic) that could be dissected and talked about. Cherie Jones is clearly a talented writer and storyteller. ⁣ ⁣ All of that being said, I wish I hadn’t read it. It left such a large pit in my stomach that I haven’t quite been able to shake. I know that hard, tragic, horrendous things happen to people all of time, but reading (listening) to them in such detail for so long was not something I feel helped me gain anything. I wish I had known more of what I was getting into before I started the book, the synopsis really doesn’t set you up for the level of trauma that is this novel. I don’t think this is a book that is wise to go into blindly. ⁣ ⁣ How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House reminded me a lot of when my book club read Golden Child by Claire Adam. Another book that was exquisitely written but so full of unfathomable trauma that we were all greatly affected. ⁣ ⁣ If you choose to read this book, please don’t expect a thriller, know that you will most likely be very emotionally affected.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leslie - Shobizreads

    Wow! This book was intense but a great read. Lots of triggers including murder, sexual abuse, death of an infant, domestic abuse. I listened to the audio format and had a little trouble keeping track of the characters and details but it also really did come alive being heard in the characters Jamaican voice and accent. If you love messy, complicated characters looking to escape their current circumstances, here you go.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Richelle Robinson

    This book was heartbreaking, brutal and depressing. I felt bad for all of the characters even Adan. I need a nice fluffy read after this book. I listened to the audiobook as I read a long and certain phrases were altered so keep that in mind if you read and listen like I did. For a debut book this was well written, captivating and I look forward to reading Cherie Jones next book! Triggers: Rape, abuse, death of a child, murder of a spouse.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Hatcher

    “If it does not make a baby cry but it makes you cry then how much of a woman are you” -Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House No spoilers review! We primarily follow Lala, a young Barbadian woman, as she begins bleeding and birthing her first child, running out of the house to try to find help because her husband is nowhere to be found. It seems as though we will focus on the story that follows the sequence of events of this night. But we then find the origins of the tragedies we “If it does not make a baby cry but it makes you cry then how much of a woman are you” -Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House No spoilers review! We primarily follow Lala, a young Barbadian woman, as she begins bleeding and birthing her first child, running out of the house to try to find help because her husband is nowhere to be found. It seems as though we will focus on the story that follows the sequence of events of this night. But we then find the origins of the tragedies we read about in the lives of Lala and other characters were woven years prior. Each chapter exposes another piece of the Russian doll, revealing the web of history that brought all the central characters to the violence and turmoil they experience. I significantly appreciated the unique approach to having each chapter written from a different character’s perspective, allowing us to slowly piece together what happened the night of Lala’s childbirth and the events before and after. This book—the lyrical writing, the narration by Danielle Vitalis (if using an audiobook), the characters, their histories—will haunt you. And I don’t mean in a bad way. Although it covers very heavy topics, I didn’t want to put this one down. I read it in less than 3 days (I started it but ended up reading something first so my timeline will actually say 5 days...). I didn’t want to look away. The ending did feel a bit rushed, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating all that was this debut novel. I am in awe of what I read. I can’t wait to read more from Jones in the future.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits I already had two strong contenders for my January Book of the Month, but then I read How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and was absolutely blown away. This Barbados-set novel is unflinching in its grim portrayal of intersecting lives in a Paradise that is beset more by horror than bliss. The story begins with the recounting of a folktale of two sisters - one good and obedient, the other determined to go her own way. Of course, the own See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits I already had two strong contenders for my January Book of the Month, but then I read How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and was absolutely blown away. This Barbados-set novel is unflinching in its grim portrayal of intersecting lives in a Paradise that is beset more by horror than bliss. The story begins with the recounting of a folktale of two sisters - one good and obedient, the other determined to go her own way. Of course, the own-way sister is the one who must be maimed as her punishment for being so bold, but, as Cherie Jones magnificently then shows us, her Barbados women really had no chance, regardless of which path they chose. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is a hard-hitting, shocking read. I was gripped from start to finish, but did occasionally find myself recoiling from violence on the page - scenes made all the more horrifying by their matter-of-fact acceptance on the part of the characters concerned. The dual faces of stunningly beautiful Baxter's Beach reminded me of reading A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid's powerful polemic about Antigua, a similarly former-British island 500 kilometres from Barbados. Rich white people pay to only see the beauty, even their beachfront houses only face out to sea rather than into town and they buy the most attractive local people by the night. Behind the facades however lies a poverty-stricken society with seemingly no hope of escape from destructive patterns that repeat through each generation. This is a grim read, but I couldn't look away and even finished the book feeling somewhat breathless. As though I hadn't just read Jones' words, but lived this story alongside Lala, Adan, Wilma, Mira and Tone. An incredible novel.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily Bourque

    Rating: 4.5 Stars Thoughts: Oh man this book. I've read a lot of heavy books this month, with a lot of trauma, so I was a bit worried when I realized that this was another book that featured trauma pretty heavily. But this book surprised me. It shocked me, and it kept me guessing. I was surprised by the twists it took, and surprised by how much I felt for all of the characters (except Adan, he can go somewhere). More than anything, this story was masterful in the way it unfolded; it's obvious the Rating: 4.5 Stars Thoughts: Oh man this book. I've read a lot of heavy books this month, with a lot of trauma, so I was a bit worried when I realized that this was another book that featured trauma pretty heavily. But this book surprised me. It shocked me, and it kept me guessing. I was surprised by the twists it took, and surprised by how much I felt for all of the characters (except Adan, he can go somewhere). More than anything, this story was masterful in the way it unfolded; it's obvious the author knows exactly how and when to reveal information to the reader. This is a story with heavy trigger warnings though... domestic abuse, infant loss, murder, drugs, rape. For such a small book (less than 300 pages), it packed a heavy punch, and there were times that I had to put the book down for my own sanity. Nothing was too graphic or explicit, and the way that the story unfolded softened the blows. Honestly, I could have used another hundred pages to see how the characters lives unfolded after the end of this novel, but I guess the author left it ambiguous for a reason. I can already tell this book will be sticking with me for a while. Who Should Read It: Anyone who likes books with a few points of view. Anyone looking for memorable characters. Anyone interested in stories of murder and intrigue.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Reneé Wallace

    4.5 stars rounded up. I NEEED a copy of this book when it comes out! I listened to the audiobook and while the narrator is British she did a pretty good job. Set in Barbados we mostly follow Lala and we see the ripple effects of violence in various forms, love and loss. Its a hard read but a gripping story, told from multiple viewpoints and spanning over generations. The ending felt rushed but i still thoroughly enjoyed this.

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