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A beautifully written, unforgettable novel of a troubled marriage, set against the lush landscape and political turmoil of Trinidad. Monique Roffey's Orange Prize-shortlisted novel is a gripping portrait of post-colonialism that stands among great works by Caribbean writers like Jamaica Kincaid and Andrea Levy. When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England, George is immediately seduced by the beguiling island, while Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill-at-ease. As they adapt to new circumstances, their marriage endures for better or worse, despite growing political unrest and racial tensions that affect their daily lives. But when George finds a cache of letters that Sabine has hidden from him, the discovery sets off a devastating series of consequences as other secrets begin to emerge.
There were aspects of this book that were very good. Ultimately, it is a book about regret. It was neither uplifting, nor particularly thought-provoking. Rather, the main character appeared to devolve, rather than evolve. She spent her entire youth complaining - which made it difficult to like her. The husband was perpetually deaf to the vast unhappiness of his beloved wife, which made it difficult to like him as well. Both children were tedious. This could have been a great book - but missed the mark.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I listen to a lot of audiobooks. A LOT. And I have never, ever reached the end and immediately started it over again. I simply loved this story and mourned the ending...I want more! Superb writing paired with excellent narration brought all the characters to life. Brought the island to life. A very human and flawed, yet sympathetic cast. Starts just a tad slow, and the Trinidadian accent can be tricky (if you aren't accustomed, like me), but stick with it. Look forward to more from this author.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I am not sure I agree with previous critiques stating the heroine devolves. I think at the very end, perhaps she finally acts on years of thought, feelings, a sense of imprisonment.
There were one or two places where the storyline fails in continuity, but overall a marvellous weaving of historical facts and a deeply passionate fiction. I was left with questions, however, that are prosaic and fear will never be answered. Performance was a pleasure!
The audio book brought the story of Trinidad and the characters to life in an amazing way. It was required reading for college, but nonetheless, the historical fiction was enlightening and entertaining. Some portions were slightly vulgar, but the author painted a realistic, raw picture of the post colonial island.
What made the experience of listening to The White Woman on the Green Bicycle the most enjoyable?
This book is extremely well written -- wonderful word usage, and superb imagery and symbolism. I truly wished that I were reading it for a book club so that I could discuss the imagery and symbolism with other people. I also learned so much about the history of Trinidad. The two main characters -- especially Sabine -- are psychologically very complex and evoked a range of conflicting emotions as I kept listening. The first part of the book is not as engaging at the second part but the second part really pulls together the first part. If a reader were feeling less than inspired during the first part, I would encourage him/her to keep with it because when you get to the second part you will be rewarded.The multiple layers or levels of this book are what make it truly
What does Adjoa Andoh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Andoh is extraordinarily talented at producing the different dialects. I cannot imagine that this book would be as engaging in just written form. I actually would not recommend the book to anyone who could not listen to it.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Neither, but I had strong and mixed reactions to the two main characters. In the first part I sympathized with George but by the second part I realized that he had been selfish and had cut himself off from anything that would cause him real emotion. By contrast, I did not resonate with Sabine at all in the first part but found her both sympathetic and fascinating in the second part. She really suffered from some type of mental illness yet she was also clearly a bright, thinking woman.
Any additional comments?
This was my first book with Audible.com. I hope my next one is as much of a success.