Sunday, March 26, 2006

A High Wind in Jamaica

I recently read, at Ted's recommendation, "A High Wind in Jamaica" by Richard Hughes. The jacket identified it as one of the top 100 novels of the twentieth century. I'm not sure about that, but the unusual structure of the book kept me interested and wondering what it was really about. What I thought was going to be a nautical yarn and snapshot of the old Caribbean, turned out to be equally about the psychology and behavior of children. There were some nice details on the geography of Cuba and the reality of pirates (as opposed to the mythology). The book also serves to remind adults of some of the weird thought processes children have, simply because various restrictions haven't set in and they don't know otherwise. I know that as a child my own mental universe was larger, and there was the constant assumption that the adult world understood everything I didn't. This book makes the unsettling point that neither children nor adults have a full grasp on the world around us.


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