Nor Any Coun­try

– Garth St. Omer

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BOOK REVIEW - By Clau­dia Elei­box

“Nor Any Coun­try” is the typ­i­cal story of one of a Saint Lu­cian na­tive, trav­el­ling to the colo­nial moth­er­land of Eng­land, in hopes of gain­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties. Through­out the book we find Peter Bre­ville spend­ing eight years fur­ther­ing his ed­u­ca­tion in for­eign lands, he trav­els, ex­plores dif­fer­ent lands and meets new peo­ple. He has a few com­pan­ions who share the same na­tion­al­ity with him as well. Peter lives a life far dif­fer­ent than that of his fam­ily in Saint Lucia. Then when he gets a new job at a Univer­sity in Ja­maica, he de­cides to fi­nally pay a visit to his home­land. He comes back to 1960’s Saint Lucia, which is slowly be­ing sold to cap­i­tal­ist in­vest­ments. Only for a week, Peter re­con­nects with peo­ple who once played im­por­tant roles in his life grow­ing up. Garth St. Omer de­scribes ev­ery day ac­tiv­i­ties in great de­tail, from the long hours spent at night drink­ing with old bud­dies to lun­cheons at fancy ho­tels that weren’t so fancy eight years be­fore then. He also de­scribes the ex­ten­sive drives cap­tur­ing scenery of his fa­mil­iar­i­ties that had been altered in the time passed and even visits a priest who had known him from his youngest years. Peter Bre­ville comes back to his mother’s West- In­dian cui­sine and her scolds for not keep­ing proper con­tact with the fam­ily. He re­turns to his fa­ther’s same dis­con­nected re­sponses, and his brother’s un­wel­com­ing aura, be­cause of their un­re­solved child­hood feud. Then there’s Phyl­lis, his wife, whom he never wrote to in the eight years that he was gone. Phyl­lis who bore his chil­dren and watched them die without his com­fort or sup­port. Phyl­lis was the one who faith­fully awaited his re­turn, while he unfaithfully kept her a se­cret from his ex­otic, well-ed­u­cated, obliv­i­ous mis­tresses.

Garth St. Omer’s writ­ing screams the truth that many hate to speak, or be re­minded of. Whether it is of the nag­ging of a con­science or im­moral­i­ties un­told or how our lit­tle is­land has changed in some ways for the worst. It’s worded with sim­plic­ity, mak­ing the story easy to fol­low and St. Omer cre­ates a vivid set­ting with his de­scrip­tions. Al­though it was first pub­lished in 1969, some of the sit­u­a­tions in this book are still re­lat­able in the present day. “Nor Any Coun­try” may be a great present for a Saint Lu­cian liv­ing over­seas, or vis­it­ing for the hol­i­days who can also han­dle a short provoca­tive read. Come sup­port your lo­cal writ­ers at the bookYard and let us know what you think.

Garth St. Omer stud­ied at The Univer­sity of the West In­dies and has taught in Ghana and Cal­i­for­nia. “Nor Any Coun­try” is one of his many pub­li­ca­tions.

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