Seduce – Désirée Reynolds #DiverseDecember #8

Black women carry di worl between we legs an pan we shoulder, carry it an carry it.

On Church Island, a small mythical place in the Caribbean, Seduce is dead and mourners gather. Seduce was a complex woman. Her job as a Lampis – the women who cooked and served fish on the docks but made most of their money through sex work – set her at odds with many in the community. Religious, upstanding Hyacinth says Seduce was responsible for her husband leaving. Seduce’s daughter, Glory, wants to protect her in death but had a difficult relationship with her in life. Mikey, Seduce’s lover is devastated and defends her. 

The island is poised at a point of change. Tensions are evident in religious practises, the role of the island’s colonisers and the treatment of women. As secrets are revealed, the hypocrisy at the heart of the island’s people is exposed.

A polyphonic novel, each character – including Seduce – is given a chance to tell their part of the story. Reynolds creates a distinct voice for each person using the accent(s) and dialect of the island. It creates a lyrical tale in the oral tradition; at points it feels akin to a play. Seduce is an absorbing tale that questions the social, political and religious constructs that a society is built from and the consequences for those within it, whether or not they choose to play by the rules.

Seduce is published by Peepal Tree Press. The copy I read is my own purchase.  

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