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Cherie Jones Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Cherie Jones
Cherie Jones was born in 1974. After she got her LLB from the University of the West Indies in 1995, she got admitted to the Bar in Barbados in 1997. In 2015, she graduated from the Master of Arts Writing Program at Sheffield Hallam University. In addition to her writing, she works as the general counsel for a government agency in Barbados.

Jones is a single mom of four kids and has spoken openly about being a survivor of domestic violence.

Cherie was the first place winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 1999 and a prize of £2,000. “How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her Home” was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2021 and was selected for the Good Morning America monthly book club in February of 2021.

Cherie has been writing ever since she can remember. She remembers being about 6 or 7 and thinking that writing a novel meant writing from one cover to the other of one of her exercise books for school. Cherie would write stories, poems, and hymns, and read and spend a bunch of time in her own imagination while she was a kid. But the idea of publishing internationally only crystallized in her consciousness around the final year of her bachelor’s degree. Writing for publication was not something that she gave too much thought of before then.

It might have been easier for her to write her first novel, because she didn’t even know she was setting out to write a novel when she wrote it. Starting the story in 2008, she believed she was just writing a short story so it did not seem like much of a departure from what she’d been writing before then. Over time she realized that this story required the word space that a novel form provides and she picked the story back up in 2015 and decided it would be a novel.

The inspiration for the story was this voice on the bus on her way home from work this one evening during her time living in the UK. Lala was just sitting in her head (possibly her heart) on this bus ride and told her about the time that she and her husband fought about their baby. She just could not get the images out of her head. And the story began from there.

Cherie did draw on some of her own experiences in writing her stories, more in terms of the psychological terrain than the physical. Lala’s experiences of violence aren’t Cherie’s, however she believes her awareness of some of the psychological trauma that survivors of violence experience helped inform this narrative. She also draws on the experiences of the women in Cherie’s family, friends she knows, reports read in papers and events both imagined and real. She believes that most writers are observant and draw on events, people, and places around them however these things are combined in fiction in order to create a totally different place, person, or thing.

“The Burning Bush Women and Other Stories” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2004. Dolores is losing parts of herself, her ability to say ‘hi’ to her work colleagues, her typing speed, up until she’s no longer Dolores at all, but Queen Mapusa, a bare-footed child of Africa, and proud mom of modern civilization. Etheline Elvira Ransom is lying in bed, with a pair of scissors under her behind, just waiting to teach her errant and bullying man a lesson. Odetta is a 54 year old mom and wife talking her way through the day about her secret abortion. The Burning Bush Women are smoking cigars and weaving one another’s wild blood red hair into tight plaits, however the plaits are not holding: somewhere, the hair says, there is a Bush woman dying.

In these sometimes funny, tragic, strange, and truthful tales, Cherie weaves paths through the suffering and joys of women’s lives. The writing occupies this in-between space between the realistic and the magical, exploring the tensions between the African folk wisdom Nanan passes on from the ancestors to her granddaughter, and the colonized dictums that the mom in ‘The Bride’ offers her daughter about how a respectable woman lives.

“The Burning Bush Women” tells so many stories, so much life, in a rich variety of voices which stay with you long after closing the book. A talented short story writer can tell a whole lifetime in just a few pages, and with this one Cherie ranks up there with the best of them.

“How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her Home” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2021. A powerful story about four people each one desperate to escape from their legacy of violence in this so-called “paradise”.

In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Wilma (Lala’s grandma) tells this story about the one-armed sister. This is a cautionary tale, all about what happens to girls that disobey their moms and go into the Baxter’s Tunnels. Once Lala is grown, she lives on the beach with Adan, her husband and a petty criminal with neverending charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off this series of events with horrible consequences.

A new mom whose baby is discovered lifeless on the beach. A gunshot that nobody was meant to witness. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by her grief. And these two men being driven into the Tunnels by greed and desperation that attempt a crime which will risk their freedom, not to mention their own lives.

This is an intimate and visceral depiction of interconnected lives, across class and race, in this rapidly changing resort town, told by an astonishing new writer of literary fiction.

This is an intricately plotted allegory which explores the consequences of believing that you know better than the women that made you and charts out the inheritance of trauma which is much too common in Caribbean women’s lives. With deft storytelling and rare compassion, Cherie renders a narrative which is both unforgettable and haunting.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Cherie Jones

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