Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes

A High Wind in JamaicaA High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I have a sort of vague recollection of seeing this film as a child, one that mingles an irresolute fondness and repulsion. The book, reading it now as an adult and many years distant from the type of audience for which it was constructed, left me rather "Meh."

I think that technically there was a lot of craft involved here, and that the distant, pedantic third POV was supposed to somehow cleverly juxtapose with the series of portentous events to comment on the way the world is viewed by children. Unfortunately, it just left me feeling uninvolved and ultimately uninterested.

Lots of things happen: children in Jamaica survive an earthquake (possibly?) and a hurricane, but then are sent back to England to attend boarding school. Their ship is held up by pirates and the children inadvertently end up with the brigands. One of the children dies in a fall. An elder girl appears to become a consort to the first mate. Another ship is hijacked and another girl, Emily, kills that ship's captain. But none of it appears to have much effect on the participants, especially the children themselves, who blissfully adapt and live in their own little world, while the adults around them suffer enormously.

Maybe if there were an afterward that had Emily as an adult trying to remember the events...perhaps with a feeling that mingled fondness and repulsion. That, I might have connected with.

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