Tide Running by Oonya Kempadoo
A Novel

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A striking and sensuous novel set in the contemporary Caribbean, by one of fiction's bright new stars

On the island of Tobago, Cliff, a young man from the poor town of Plymouth, watches the arrival of a foreign couple and their child to a luxurious house overlooking the ocean. The couple invites Cliff into their home and lives, and a relationship develops that tests sexual boundaries while unexpectedly revealing the depth of their racial and cultural differences. Things begin to go wrong--money is missing, the couple’s car disappears. Feelings of suspicion and guilt arise, raising unsettling questions of wealth and responsibility, brilliantly portrayed against the lush backdrop of Tobago and the harsh, brittle world of Plymouth.

Oonya Kempadoo's second novel compellingly brings to life the characters of the contemporary Caribbean and captures the predicament of a young society looking to America for its fantasies and its heroes. Kempadoo’s language is utterly captivating, making her one of the most original writers of contemporary fiction.


About Oonya Kempadoo

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Oonya Kempadoo was born in England to Guyanese parents. She has lived in Europe and on various islands in the Caribbean. Her first novel, Buxton Spice, was published in 1998 to great acclaim. Her second novel, Tide Running, won the prestigious Casa de las Americas Literary Prize for best English or Creole novel. Kempadoo lives in St. George’s, Grenada.
Published May 1, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 155 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Tide Running

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An allegory of exploitation is suggested by numerous references to the wide social and economic gaps between the Johnsons and their plaything, perhaps best encapsulated in the tart remarks of the couple’s visiting Trinidadian friend SC (initials denote a rude sexual cognomen), who warns them agai...

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Publishers Weekly

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Kempadoo's second novel (after Buxton Spice) is a sensuous, richly vernacular account of a young Tobagonian's intimate, ultimately disastrous intersection

Apr 07 2003 | Read Full Review of Tide Running: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Kempadoo, sagely, does not condemn the rich outsiders for taking advantage of Cliff's disenfranchisement, but offers each character space for his or her own self-justification: Bella entertains "some naïve romance for [Cliff's] rootsy background";

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