He Drown She in the Sea: A Novel
Shani Mootoo, Ma Prem Maneesha, Swami Shiva Murti
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Author note: Ma Prem Maneesha (Editor), Swami Shiva Murti (Photographer)
Publish Year note: First published November 30th 1975
Set on the fictional Caribbean island of Guanagaspar around the time of the Second World War, and in modern-day Vancouver, He Drown She in the Sea, fulfills the promise of Shani Mootoo’s internationally acclaimed debut novel, Cereus Blooms at Night.
At the centre of the story is Harry St. George, the son of a laundress, and the unrequited love he bears for a woman, Rose, the daughter of a wealthy man, whom he knew as a child. Looking back to his past, evoking the rich culture and texture of his Caribbean boyhood, and the life of his mother, Dolly, Harry reveals his friendship with Rose, and the events that will continue to haunt him across time and place. When Rose arrives suddenly in Vancouver, where Harry has built a hard-earned life for himself, the two embark on an impossible affair that will have tragic consequences.
He Drown She in the Sea is a vividly evoked, subtly described story of love, class division, and the unrelenting hold of the past, told by one of our most gifted writers. Shani Mootoo joins the front ranks of Carribean literature, in the company of Austin Clarke and Dionne Brand.
From the Hardcover edition.
her hand and leading her into the bright turquoise sea. The beach is littered with reclining sunbathers. The air sizzles with heat and buoys the wild, carefree sounds of families and friends playing volleyball on one section of the beach, cricket on another. Children in the shallow waters squeal with delight, and seagulls shriek overhead. She follows him easily. They wade into the warm water as far as the breakers, where they are cradled and the water reaches them comfortably at their waist. This
belly, rubbing the top as if to soothe the baby growing inside her, stared, her eyes wide and blank. The baby in her belly reached and grabbed some part of her inner anatomy, and she thought then that if she herself were to step into the water, it might pull them both far, far in. She retreated up the beach some paces. A strong wind rolled in from the ocean, bringing with it that smell again. That night the sea calmed. For three days Dolly, accompanied by Tante Eugenie, kept watch on the beach.
your own business? Look, child, I leave you home next week, yes.” She knew that she could not leave him back in Raleigh. Mrs. Sangha rushed in, tea towel in hand. The boy, who had not shed a tear as yet, set his face up to cry when he saw her. His mother raised her hand to him. “Look, don’t start up with that stupidness now, you hear me?” He looked at Mrs. Sangha, who looked back, the corners of her mouth drawn in pity. He watched her, his mouth taking on the downward turn of hers, and squeezed
you from Dolly and mih boy. She is like my daughter, you know, and he, well, he is like my grandchild, too. Thank you for being so good to them.” Dolly blushed, and the boy, still beside Mrs. Sangha and his mother, tiptoed and pointed with pride to a heap of brightly colored footballers. “Uncle Mako, you ketch footballers today. Give me one.” His mother snapped sharply that he was not to play with them, they would dirty his hands. Uncle Mako came around to their side of the table. Indicating
pushing pirogues and rowboats into the water by the light of the moon, setting nets by hand, pulling them in the long, slow arduous way, was a dying profession. He would point in disgust to a distant group of youngsters banging on oil cans, on hubcaps, and on bottles with old enamel spoons, dancing, singing, drinking, and smoking, and he would growl, “That is not what our people, African people, would a want for us. Them children shaming us. They ain’t got no dreams. You are not African, child,