Trinidadian memories

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, by Monique RoffeyMayfair Library Reading Group recently read and discussed The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey.

Diana, one of the members of the group, lived in Trinidad during some of the time the book was set and it took her on the most glorious nostalgia trip.

This is her review:

‘The author captures the heat, the vivid colours, the noise, the volatility, joyousness and resentments of the people. She illustrates the sad fact that having a light skin automatically brought privileges – socially and economically – unavailable to those of darker colour.

She captures the music of the Trinidadian dialect whilst not rendering the language unintelligible.  She charts the political story from the dying days of colonialism through the insurgence of black power to the current day and none of these stages presents a particularly pretty picture, she does this with an eye for detail that displays the huge amount of research that she must have done.

I loved my life there and look back on my childhood as perhaps the happiest time of my life.  My parents, particularly my mother felt differently.  Like Sabine, she found it difficult to tolerate the heat of the dry season (like George, my Dad did not, and nor did we children), but above all – again like Sabine – she feared that her children would become Trinidadian!

I remember the strong sense of fun, the wonderfully expressive and colourful language, the vivid colours of plant, bird and animal life, the underlying resentments of the black underclass.  And I remember the Country Club!  It was just as the book describes – I am pleased to say my parents were not members but I was taken there as a guest on many occasions to use the swimming pool.’



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