This powerful, unflinching novel opens in Barbados, 1984, with Lala, eight months pregnant and bleeding heavily, searching for her husband so they can go to the hospital. She finds him fleeing the scene of a bungled burglary where a wealthy white man has been shot dead. The novel tells Lala's story, that of her grandmother Wilma, and of the widowed Mrs Whelan, herself once an island girl. Revealing the poverty underpinning the beautiful island paradise, it shows women surviving male violence with resourcefulness and courage.
Cherie Jones’s How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House... unfolds in a Barbados resort where tourists and locals coexist tensely and violence is never far away: two of its female characters, Lala and Jacinthe, are attached to brutal criminals and a third, Mira, was left a widow by a robbery that turned into murder. More a crime-riddled literary novel than a plot-driven thriller, Jones’s atmospheric debut has a multiracial, multigenerational cast who are brilliantly and even-handedly portrayed.