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

Most Helpful

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

One of my favorite novels

Any additional comments?

This is the second time I've read this magical novel and I like it even better this time than I did the first. A lot of what I love is just in the language Hughes uses - for example describing the ocean as a 'tissue of sensitive nerves' - you can feel the languid heat of the tropics, the wetness of everything, the riot of vegetation, the primitive danger of everything all around. This is a novel to just get lost in, to be held captive by like the main characters, so much so that I'm not particularly interested in analyzing the book to death.

I could talk at length about the theme of crumbling institutions (adulthood, piracy, plantations, the church, England), about childhoods that never end (John, through his 'martyrdom', and the pirates through negligence). I could compare it to Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' which is just as dreamlike, or to Peter Pan, or even Don Quixote.

However, I just don't want to pick this one to pieces. I'd rather play the role of Mathias and allow the book to surprise me, trick me, confound me with it's circus of near insanity, instead of turning it into a Margaret that's been violated by a bunch of dirty sailors (academics).

Some books I just want to enjoy and this is one of them.

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- Dan Harlow

Book Details

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