Lauren Francis-Sharma's 'Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman, the risks and rewards in Marcia's life amplify forever.
On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival, cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia's secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them.
'Til the Well Runs Dry tells the twinned stories of a spirited woman's love for one man and her bottomless devotion to her children. For listeners who cherish the previously untold stories of women's lives, here is a story of grit and imperfection and love that has not been told before.
©2014 Lauren Francis-Sharma (P)2015 Tantor
"Remarkably accomplished first-time novelist Francis-Sharma makes it clear on page one that Marcia is strong, courageous, and resourceful." (Booklist)
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"Most wells I knew as a boy…"
Most wells I knew as a boy in rural Alabama were sealed decades ago. Climbing down the dank and dark narrow walls of this one at 78 was torturous, but i could close the book, shut off my iPod, and go to a comfortable sleep. Not so for the noble and vulnerable family at the center of this story.
The author has Shakespeare's gift to let me see, smell, taste, touch, and hear every detail vividly, poignantly.
I did not choose this book but read it as a project for the book club at my public library. I need this group to help bring wholeness but not closure to the reading . I would not be surprised if our next meeting resembles a wake. We know the characters of the novel as family.
Good story, great narration. My one problem was that it seemed to want to be everything to everybody. I felt like it meandered into too many areas that felt unresolved. Once Marcia went to the States, it all felt a bit forced and contrived...but the story still kept me engaged. This was good for driving and relaxing on the porch.....I found it tough on the subway because the accents required total concentration. Good, entertaining store nonetheless. This story made me very interested in Trinidadian culture which I will explore more.
"Difficult lives; difficult to experience."
I wasn't feeling well when I listened to this book, and it took some strength to stay with it. There was so much misery encountered by so many of the characters, and I know this is true for many people in the world. It was an interesting story, and well-written. I thought the narration was good.
Written and read with such grace and compassion. Fantastic in every way. Bravo to a remarkable story teller and two extraordinary actor/narrators. Thank you.
Loved it! This is sad beautiful story with excellent narration. I could not stop listening it was totally gripping and I will listen to this again.
This book takes you to the island. You experience the book; you see, feel, taste, hear, and smell the story. This book is very well written.
"All the ingredients to an excellent book"
visual. well-written. emotional.
Marcia's difficult first nights in New York City.
At first I was disappointed to hear unauthentic Trinidadian accents. The narrators are not Trinidadian and came across more Jamaican (specifically Bahni.) I understand that it is difficult to perfectly replicate the accent and unique points of emphasis Trinis use which is why I also questioned why actual Trinidadian narrators were not selected. Little inaccuracies in the pronunciation (or rather mispronunciation) of words or overly sing-song rhythm irritated me a little. For example Bahni saying "zab-Oka" instead of "zabo-ka" which is the local word for avocado, among other things. Ron was a bit better and even did a decent job chanting the Hindi mantra coming to the end of the novel.
However, as the book progressed past the first couple chapters, the accents and pronunciations became unimportant because of the spectacular and moving performances, especially Bahni's which at times was downright tear-worthy. Bahni really takes you into the moment in the story...I can smell, feel and see everything. Her performance was unlike anything I've experienced in audio book; it was pure acting genius that made me quite emotional at times - I grieved with Marcia and Jackie, I became angry when they were and although the overall story lacked joyfulness, I felt their relief at times. I also think that Ron did an excellent job as Farouk and I think that he portrayed him as a usually nonchalant, conflicted and sometimes tortured man. However this character did not have the emotional scope of Marcia Garcia.
Several because as a Trinidadian, I found so much familiarity in the story. Yvonne's untimely death was very tragic and emotional. The time Farouk brought the Primus stove to Marcia and the children was also a rare happy moment.
This is my absolute favorite audio book to date. This is the way we were trained to write as children in the Caribbean, in the hopes that one day we would produce a piece of literature like this. It was a full sensory experience, even more so for me because I am from Trinidad. The author's ability to depict a scene and an emotion is incredible. You can see the lush green landscape, feel the hot sun and the cool breeze, taste the diverse, decadent flavors of food, hear the bustle of the market and sweet Trini talk. After each listening I felt incredible longing to return to Trinidad.
Sharma perfectly conveys the society, attitudes, livelihoods and stories of Trinidadian people to an international reading audience. Let me add that the story we heard is not at all unfamiliar to the Trinidadian people - it resonated so well with me because I know of one or more friends or family members who have actually experienced such hardships, simple pleasures or in other ways have lived the way the characters do. I am looking forward to Lauren Francis-Sharma's next novel. Hopefully a continuation of this one since the ending left me rather sad and longing to know what happened to the characters.
"Don't miss this one"
I fell in love with this book right away. It made me smile, think and laugh out loud. I even identified with some of the thoughts some of the characters had. I learned some things too. I did not know the history of Trinidad. The narrators could not be better. I have a feeling there may be a sequel.
"Abrupt end :("
This novel was very wonderful and written and performed tremendously. I was so invested into the story and characters, but at the end it just ended. The hardships and turmoil are all the sudden solved and okay within two minutes. I felt very let down but would still recommend this to everyone. I only wish the author invested as much to the conclusion as they did throughout the novel itself.
"My First Trini Audio Book"
I like the story but being a Trinidadian I was disappointed that they didn't use a Trinidadian narrator, the Trini accent was definitely missing for the main character and some others.
This was a let down for me.
Book of Night Women by Marlon James, excellent story and performance by Jamaicans.
Not if it is narrating a Trini book.
It was nice reading/hearing about Trinidad during the late 1920s.
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