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The Pirate's Daughter [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson...

In 1946, a storm-wrecked boat carrying Hollywood's most famous swashbuckler arrived dramatically in Jamaica, and the glamorous world of 1940s Hollywood converged with that of a small West Indian society. After a long and storied career on the silver screen, Errol Flynn spent much of the last years of his life on a small island off of Jamaica, throwing parties and sleeping with increasingly younger girls. Spanning two generations of women whose destinies become inextricably linked with the Hollywood star, The Pirate's Daughter tells the provocative history of a vanished era, of uncommon kinships, compelling attachments, betrayal, and atonement in a paradisal, tropical setting. May, the illegitimate daughter of Errol Flynn, belongs neither to the emerging black nation of Jamaica nor to the white, expatriate society on the island. Her mother, Ida, romantically adventurous, dreams of a bigger more glamorous world than that of her small seaside town. For them both, trying to find the right way to live their lives is about discovering who they are and where they truly belong. As adept with Jamaican vernacular as she is at revealing the internal machinations of a fading and bloated matinee idol, in this culturally sensitive and delightful novel, Margaret Cezair-Thompson weaves a saga of a mother and daughter finding their way in a nation struggling to rise to the challenge of independence.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   394
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2007
Publisher   Unbridled Books
ISBN  1932961402  
ISBN13  9781932961409  

Availability  0 units.

More About Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Margaret Cezair-Thompson is the author of a widely acclaimed previous novel, The True History of Paradise. Born in Jamaica, West Indies, she teaches literature and creative writing at Wellesley College.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Women > Mothers & Children

Reviews - What do customers think about The Pirate's Daughter?

Yeah Mon! A slice of Jamaica  Sep 1, 2008
I loved this book. Being Jamaican, I could appreciate all aspects of this engaging family saga.

The story is of three generations of a family and how their life changed after meeting famed actor, Errol Flynn. Plot development was fast and character development was very good. I actually know these people.

Other readers may have a problem with the language in the book as it, on some occasions, delves into the Jamaican Creole. However, this is not a distractor for such an engaging story.

Kudos Ms. Cezair- Thompson for this fine work of art.
A memorable tale of love, strength and Jamaica  Aug 29, 2008
By Guy P. Harrison, author of 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God

The Pirate's Daughter is not the sort of book I usually pick up. At first glance it has the look of a romance novel, a genre I don't condemn but one that I feel too pressed for time to invest in. In my mind there are just too many non-fiction books out there, waiting to enlighten me about one thing or another. Fortunately, a friend urged me to give this book a chance and I'm glad I did. The Pirate's Daughter is a wonderful novel with memorable characters. Most impressive, it manages to feel like a true story throughout. I often forgot that I was reading a work of fiction. It all felt so very real. Ida and May, the central characters seem more real in my head than half of the actual living people I know.

Jamaican-born Margaret Cezair-Thompson teaches literature and creative writing at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After reading The Pirate's Daughter I'm ready to sign up for her class. Her ability to tell an interesting story with great characters while gently nurturing a sense of concern and empathy into readers' minds seems effortless. Beyond the people, Cezair-Thompson leads readers on a memorable tour of Jamaican culture and history without ever once sounding like some shallow tour guide throwing disconnected facts at you.

The novel centers around Ida, a young Jamaican girl who has a love affair with 1950s Hollywood superstar Errol Flynn. The swashbuckling matinee idol lives on Navy Island off the coast of Jamaica and has a working relationship/friendship with Ida's father. What began so simply, however, quickly becomes complex when Ida becomes pregnant. When the baby, May, is born the novel becomes her story too. Spanning decades, The Pirate's Daughter brilliantly mingles the stories of Flynn, Ida, May and Jamaica. Ida and May see their country become independent in 1962 and experience the downward spiral into violence and chaos. But Jamaica's political and social problems in the 1960s and 1970s are not thrown up as a mere backdrop to add fire to the book. Much more is present, including the many positive and unique aspects of Jamaican culture. Caribbean readers will appreciate that The Pirate's Daughter has a legitimate Jamaican feel to it. Anyone who has lived in Jamaica or spent time there will recognize the authenticity behind Cezair-Thompson's work. This is not a story that is "set in Jamaica". This is a story that is genuinely Jamaican.

One of my favorite lines in the book comes in a letter from young May who describes her love for Jamaica.
"Here is a secret about me: I feel strange saying it but I've always been madly in love with the land of my birth--the land, not the nation or state--it's not patriotism; it's landscapism, which is both a passion for the land and a kind of escape. I used to wake up earlier than everyone else when I was a little girl just so I could be alone with the view and have no one intruding between me and the morning air."

Reading The Pirate's Daughter is a sensitive and memorable journey through the lives of two good and interesting Jamaican women. Ida and May are likely to linger in your thoughts long after you finish their story. They are still in mine.
Surprising...  Aug 25, 2008

The Pirate's Daughter: A NovelNot being a fan of fiction,I was more than a little surprised and delighted by this fictional account of the daughter of a long dead, and notorious 50's film star, (who generally makes an appearance in most biographies of the famous and infamous of that era.Niven, Grant, Gable, Hudson et al they all fell under his spell as well as every red blooded female of that time) The book is racey, punchy , romantic, scandalous, which more or less sums up her amazingly good-looking,luxuriously well-endowed. and debauched father who was piratical in every sense of the word. An original slant on an icon that we thought we knew everything about.,a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable read
An easy read that takes you on many journeys  Aug 24, 2008
My only complaint about this book is that the end left me wondering what happened next. More to the point, with my ignorance on Jamaican history I don't know what happened during the time of its independence so there were a lot of questions at the end for me. Other than this I really enjoyed this book. Not only was it the fiction story of Errol Flynn's daughter, it was the story of Flynn and the mother and the people of Jamaica and the author really made that country and it's people come alive. I could almost taste the black crab soup and plaintains.
Rambling and long winded  Jul 22, 2008
I struggled to get through this novel. It took so long to get going and it never grabbed me. It's the story of Ida, a Jamaican girl who meets the actor Errol Flynn as a young girl and ends up having a daughter with him. Although the daughter May is the title character, she doesn't really come into the story until the second half of the book. The first part is all about how Ida meets Errol and eventually becomes his lover at the age of 16. The relationship doesn't last and Ida is left to raise her daughter on her own, although she does later marry.

The book is very slow - oddly so, because a lot happens, but the action parts are rushed and the parts between dragged out. The synopsis makes it sound so exciting: pirates' tales, hunting for lost treasure and appearances by stars like Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. All I can say is while these things are mentioned, they are hardly major elements of the story. It's a book that is more character driven than plot driven: unfortunately the characters are not particularly likeable or even interesting.

Cezair-Thompson seems intimidated by the idea of incorporating Errol Flynn as a fictional character: he never feels real in the way that the other characters do. The idea of using a real person in a piece of fiction is far from new - for example, William Boyd does it very skillfully in "Any Human Heart". But here it feels clumsy and contrived.

Some of the dialogue is written in the Jamaican dialect. Reading other reviews, I guess I'm the minority here, but I found that distracting. It irritates me when I need to slow down my reading to decipher what is being said by sentences like: "Wha'fe you cyan be unfe you".

The one thing that I really loved about this book is the descriptions of Jamaica, which are gorgeous. You can almost smell the rain-scented forests, feel the tropical breezes, see the white bougainvillea fringing the colorfully painted houses. But overall, this book was a disappointment to me.

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