Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

I just finished reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. This is one of the most touching stories I have read in a long time. The characters and the love story are unique and real. It's heartbreaking.

The book is split into 2 sections. The first half is based in Trinidad in 2006, when our main characters are 75 years of age, and have been in Trinidad for 50 years, since soon after they were married. The husband, George, decides that he has to make his wife love him again. He wants to make some grand gesture of how much his wife means to him - he wants to question the brutality of the black government. He ends up dying, however, and the wife seems to wake up from 40 years of depression and realises how much he meant to her, and how much time she had wasted. She goes out and commits a horrendous crime, seeing as she has nothing left to lose.

The book then jumps back in time to when the couple first arrived. The second half is based in the first person, with the wife, Sabine, as the narrator. It goes through their early years in Trinidad, establishing a family, establishing themselves, and Sabine's growing interest in the politics of the country, and her growing unease of being a white woman in a country that she thought hated her. It was a dangerous time, in the 60s and 70s. Sabine sinks into depression, and her love for her husband becomes hate.

The story is incredible. The characters, like I said, are so unique and alive. The writing is easy to read, and flows very well. The change for third person to first person is touching - like Sabine looking back on her life, when she knows the end is close. Brilliant.

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