Nor Any Country
– Garth St. Omer
“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.