Two sisters are suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother, in Naomi Jackson’s stunning debut novel
This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah.
Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life.
This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family.
Naomi Jackson’s Barbados and her characters are singular, especially the wise Hyacinth and the heartbreaking young Phaedra, who is coming into her own as a young woman amid the tumult of her family.
Praise for The Star Side of Bird Hill:
“Once in a while, you’ll stumble onto a book like this, one so poetic in its descriptions and so alive with lovable, frustrating, painfully real characters, that your emotional response to it becomes almost physical. . . . The dual coming-of-age story alone could melt the sternest of hearts, but Jackson’s exquisite prose is a marvel too. . . . A gem of a book.” —Entertainment Weekly (A)