Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo

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Not since Jamaica Kincaid burst onto the scene with her classic novel Annie John has so original and gifted an author given voice to a young girls coming of age experience in the Caribbean. Oonya Kempadoo's Buxton Spice is a breath-taking glimpse into the inner life of Lula, who is growing up in a racially mixed family in a predominantly black village in Guyana in the 1970s. While Tamarind Grove is a magical place filled with vibrant characters like Aunt Ruth, the obeah voodoo lady; and a trio of prostitutes known as Bullet, Sugar Baby, and Rumshop Cockroach, a shadow falls over this Eden in which Lula playfully and candidly explores her awakening sexuality. The repressive regime of Guyana's dictator extends its poisonous tendrils into every area of life in Tamarind Grove, just like the branches of the Buxton Spice tree under whose umbrella the village's tensions fester. Lula's passage from innocence to experience is narrated in language that dances off the page, swaying with the lively, lilting cadences of Caribbean dialect. Already celebrated in the U.K. as one of the freshest, most exciting literary debuts in recent memory, Buxton Spice is a resonant, gem-like masterpiece.

"a brilliant achievement, precise, moving, poetic" (The Independent, U.K.)

"Kempadoo is outstanding...her prose is raucously alive, each sentence fantastically rhythmic and right." -- Mail on Sunday (U.K.)

"Racy, humorous, enlivened by the rich Guyanese Creole in which the story is told." -- Literary Review (U.K.)

About Oonya Kempadoo

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Kempadoo was born in London and grew up in Golden Grove, Guyana.
Published January 1, 1998 by WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON. 169 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

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Childhood ends when Lula learns that Judy has been having a secret affair with an older man, and political tensions force her family to flee to England.

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Publishers Weekly

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Kempadoo's semi-autobiographical first novel follows bright, sensitive Lula, a girl growing up in Guyana, through her first frightening and thrilling pubescent milestones. In the early 1970s, when Guy

May 03 1999 | Read Full Review of Buxton Spice

Publishers Weekly

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Madmen, prostitutes, clan scandals, murders, rum shacks and irrepressible sexual energy hasten Lula's passage from childhood to womanhood, but Kempadoo describes her sexual awakening with eloquence, empathy, astonishing frankness and ebullience: ""I pushed my hips up to the base of the tap, legs ...

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