In Nicole Dennis-Benn’s novel Here Comes the Sun, Jamaica is not a paradise for everyone. Those with money fly in and stay at expensive resorts, like the Palm Star Resort. The men, women, and children who call the island home live in another world. Margot and her younger sister Thandi, along with their mother Delores, live in the financially impoverished community of Montego Bay. Margot works at Palm Star Resort and offers its customers a sanitized pleasure-scape. She trades her body for money to provide a better life for her sister and for her own deferred dreams. On stolen nights, she steals a piece of love for herself at Verdene’s home. After years in London, Verdene returns to Jamaica and finds herself on the outside. Thandi struggles to live up to the high expectations of her family and her own self-image.
When a new resort threatens to destroy Montego Bay and its residents, long-held secrets and desires spill over. Here Comes the Sun illuminates a world of compromises, lost innocence, and love in hard places. How far would you go for the people you love? How much of yourself would you push below the surface? Each woman will make difficult choices and discover for themselves where to draw the line in the sand.
Bahni Turpin delivers stunning, immersive performances as Margot, Thandi, Dolores, and the rest of the Islanders. Her characterizations of the people who inhabit Jamaica are so vivid that I feel like I’m leaving a conversation midway when I turn my car off. The accents she uses convey what parts of the island, socioeconomic, and life experiences the people inhabit. The rhythms of the community flow from the region’s patois, which Nicole Dennis-Benn uses for the novel’s dialogue. Turpin brings the language to life in a way that as a reader I would not do justice.
The way in which the women speak to each other changes depending on the person they are talking to and the role they assume. Thandi consciously moves between her two worlds – the expensive private high school she attends and the economically disadvantaged Montego Bay – by switching back and forth from the studied tones of her wealthier peers to the dialect of her home neighborhood. Verdene, a woman who has returned to Jamaica after living in London for several years, has a complex accent. Her voice is a blend of her homeland, the high level of education she received, and the British English she steeped in during her life abroad. Her neighbors treat her like an outcast, a witch with sexual appetites to avoid. The elderly woman next door leaves dead animals and noisy, high-pitched Biblical condemnations.
The sun never sets on this listening experience.
You can learn more about the authors, narrators, and where to purchase a copy of this audiobook via the links below.
Here Comes the Sun
Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Produced by HighBridge Audio
Length: 11.75 hours
Release date: July 19, 2016
Audio CD ISBN: 9781681682709
Digital Audio ISBN: 9781681682716
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