Barbados — paradise for some, not for others

Lifestyle

Barbados — paradise for some, not for others

‘How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House’ is a visceral novel of love, patriarchy and self-determination

Monique Verduyn

Women and girls have been told how to behave since the stone age. In How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her House, the debut novel by Barbadian lawyer Cherie Jones, the titular “one-armed sister” is drawn from a cautionary folk tale.  

A village vicar had two beautiful daughters, but only one was gifted with good sense; “the other one was own-way and like to give the mother mouth”. The girls were warned to stay away from a dark tunnel where only bad men go. The “slack-from-she-born, force-ripe sister” decided to explore the tunnel to see where it led; the monster in the tunnel took her arm and she was left with an unsightly stump to remind her of the price of wickedness.

The Barbadian morality tale lies at the heart of this visceral, unflinching novel that questions how a woman can make a life for herself when her body is constantly under siege...

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