Barbados — paradise for some, not for others

‘How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House’ is a visceral novel of love, patriarchy and self-determination

12 July 2021 - 21:26 By Monique Verduyn

Women and girls have been told how to behave since the stone age. In How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her House, the debut novel by Barbadian lawyer Cherie Jones, the titular “one-armed sister” is drawn from a cautionary folk tale.  

A village vicar had two beautiful daughters, but only one was gifted with good sense; “the other one was own-way and like to give the mother mouth”. The girls were warned to stay away from a dark tunnel where only bad men go. The “slack-from-she-born, force-ripe sister” decided to explore the tunnel to see where it led; the monster in the tunnel took her arm and she was left with an unsightly stump to remind her of the price of wickedness...

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