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Publisher's Summary

Two sisters are suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother, in this stunning debut novel. This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages 10 and 16, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados, after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live, for the summer of 1989, with their grandmother, Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah. Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother's limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother's mysterious life.

This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family. Jackson's Barbados and her characters are singular, especially the wise Hyacinth and the heartbreaking young Phaedra, who is coming into her own as a young woman amid the tumult of her family.

©2015 A. Naomi Jackson (P)2015 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"With a voice that can shift from the liquid brown sugar of Barbados to Brooklyn's assertive nasal tones, Robin Miles offers a pitch-perfect reading of Naomi Jackson's remarkable first novel.... What a pleasure." (AudioFile)

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My absolute favorite book of all time

Where does The Star Side of Bird Hill rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Number 1. I will be hard pressed to find a book that will knock this one out of top spot anytime soon.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Phaedra because she was so sure of herself. She was an American growing up in Barbados and was treated as such and it just made her stronger. She was alert to her surroundings and new who was genuine and who wasn't and she didn't follow her sister blindly just because she was older. She asked questions. Hyacinth was the sweetest Caribbean Granny you would want to meet. She could have been my granny, firm but loving. She loved those girls and her own daughter fiercely and always acting in their best interest. She listened, observed and only intervened when necessary.

What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

Robin Miles is a tour-de-force to be reckoned with. She captured the feel of the islands exactly. The accents rolled of her tongue like water and she could switch seamlessly between American and Bajan. Even the America/Bajan hybrid of some parts of the story came alive. She was simply wonderful. I could listen to her forever.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Of course I had an extreme reaction to this book. I cried, I cried many times. I'm hoping that is was it struck some deep chord within and that i'm not going crazy for crying over a book. I too and Caribbean American and it took me home again. I loved this book so very much, the writing was beautiful, the love between characters was even more arresting. It was a sweet Caribbean tale of love and loss and it touched me deeply

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable story

Sometimes you need to leave life behind and go to another place. Though I have never been to Barbados, I was taken there in this delightful story. Very entertaining!

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Great performance, story not engaging

maybe it would have been better if I had read it? I just never got into it.

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Entertaining and very well written

I love the imagery and stories woven throughout this book. Very well written as it takes you inside the story.

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Great story but reader makes it

Loved this lyrically written & compelling story of so many strong women. The reader did an amazing job with the variety of voices to really bring it to life.

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