A High Wind in Jamaica

  • by Richard Hughes
  • Narrated by Michael Maloney
  • 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Set in the 19th century against a backdrop of island life and the vast surrounding seas, A High Wind in Jamaica is the gripping story of the Bas-Thornton children, whose parents send them back to England following a hurricane in the postcolonial Caribbean they call home. Having set sail, the children quickly fall into the hands of pirates. As their voyage continues, things take an awful turn. Narrated largely from the perspective of the children, the supposed innocents are not the only victims of amoral behaviour, but sometimes the perpetrators. As their voyage continues, things take an awful turn. Narrated largely from the perspective of the children, the supposed innocents are not the only victims of amoral behaviour, but sometimes the perpetrators. Praised for its atypical and unsettling take on the truth of human nature, Richard Hughes’ classic, first published in 1929, has been called one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and credited with paving the way for other masterworks such as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Praised for its atypical and unsettling take on the truth of human nature, Richard Hughes’ classic, first published in 1929, has been called one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and credited with paving the way for other masterworks such as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

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Customer Reviews

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Prose that reads like a Child's Fever Dream

"After all, a criminal lawyer is not concerned with facts. He is concerned with probabilities. It is the novelist who is concerned with facts, whose job it is to say what a particular man did do on a particular occasion: the lawyer does not, cannot be expected to go further than show what the ordinary man would be most likely to do under presumed circumstances."
-- Richard Hughes, A High Wind in Jamaica

A shortcut I use when thinking about a novel, and it IS a shortcut, is to imagine fitting the book I've just read within a series of other books, or as a color made from mixing several books together. It is childish, rough, and only gets me part of the way there, but it is a start (even if it is an adolescent start). I also, with a book I am unfamiliar with, try to avoid poisoning the well by reading reviews or opinions about it. I want to come to it clean, fresh, to see it for a moment with my own eyes.

So? What books did I mix for this one? For me it was a combination of Peter Pan, Heart of Darkness, and Lord of the Flies. Yeah. Wrap your head around that. It was, however, more poetic than any of these. The prose was like a fever dream. Some of the scenes in Jamaica were lush and magical. It was told with colors seen from a child's eyes, events were described through the experience of a child. It wasn't just a trick. Hughes mastered this. He didn't condescend to children. He didn't put them on some victorian pedestal. He measured them by age, by experience, and oriented his story accordingly.

The story really is about the loss of innocence (oh, and an earthquake), but as much it is a story about how resilient children are to that loss of innocence (oh, and an alligator). How much children live in the now and wrap that now in myths. Hughes gave the children in this novel the right to be human, to deal with complexity in their own way. I'm still buzzing a bit from how much I really dug this novel. I'm glad I read it and am still surprised I was never exposed to it before.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Bach gets in the way

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I do not understand why the producers of this book believe that frequent interludes of music add anything. I suppose they believe that the words can't carry the story well enough, and so must insert guitars, dramatic scores, Johann Sebastian Bach. Also, unfortunately, the narrator has a way of reading in a very condescending manner, as if he were reading to children. He likes to drop the volume of his voice to emphasize passages, invariably requiring me to back up and increase the volume. It really detracts from the enjoyment of the story.


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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-20-2011
  • Publisher: CSA Word