Brown Girl in the Ring

Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 7, 2009

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Thirteen people attended this meeting at the North Village library. Our topic was Brown Girl in the Ring, a story of Caribbean magic in postapocalyptic Toronto. Three of us had read Hopkinson before. All of us started this book, and five finished it.

We were pleased to see the Caribbean magic base come into urban fantasy. This type of magic is rarely depicted in sf, and generally it’s handled incorrectly. Hopkinson seems to write with real understanding.

We thought this book was an interesting mix of sf, fantasy, and horror. Many of us don’t like horror, but Hopkinson’s writing kept us interested. One person said the book was “really creepy”.

Several of us appreciated how well this book was written, particularly for a first novel.  We appreciated the book’s complex structure and liked how the author wove all the plot threads together. One reader found the writing so engrossing that it made her late to work once.

We liked the protagonist, Ti-Jeanne, and felt that several of the supporting characters were well fleshed-out. The women in our group thought Ti-Jeanne’s infatuation with a “bad boy” seemed all too realistic. Everyone’s favorite character seemed to be the protagonist’s grandmother.

One person commented that this book was a “breath of fresh air.”  He felt this was a novel of female empowerment and an uplifting read.

After the meeting, several of us had dinner at Conan’s.

—A. T. Campbell, III